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or years, the juvenile justice system has focused one dimensionally on the needs and risks of offenders. As a result, the criminal justice system does not currently offer victims a "level playing field." Today, most juvenile justice systems need to give first and primary attention to increasing their responsiveness to the needs of crime victims. One way to accomplish this is for juvenile justice systems to adopt and apply the principles of restorative justice, which recognizes three stakeholders (or coparticipants) in any "justice" process—the victim, the offender, and the community.

The Victims, Judges, and Juvenile Court Reform Through Restorative Justice project was funded by the Office for Victims of Crime with the overall goal of improving the juvenile court response to crime victims. Four focus groups were held during the spring and summer of 1997, bringing together a total of 20 juvenile court judges and 18 crime victims to hear each other's perspectives about problems in juvenile court. In addition, participants engaged in a structured dialogue about the source of the problems and potential solutions, especially those that might be developed in accordance with restorative justice principles.

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Victims, Judges, and Juvenile Court Reform
Through Restorative Justice
October 2000


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