NVAA 2000 Text

Chapter 4 Supplement Restorative Justice/

Community Justice

Statistical Overview

In a nationwide survey of states to determine their laws, policies, and programs within juvenile justice, based upon the principles of restorative justice and the balanced and restorative justice (BARJ) models, the BARJ Project at Florida Atlantic University found that:

The nineteen states that have restorative juvenile justice statutes include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington (O'Brien, Bazemore, and Umbreit 1999).

Legislation and Policy


In 2000, APPA adopted a new position statement on community justice that includes a definition, a summary of the principles and core values, the relationship between community justice and restorative justice, and a recommended community justice strategy. This is a comprehensive model that can be used by agencies and communities that seek to promote the concepts of community and restorative justice (APPA 2000).

APPA working definition of community justice. Community justice is a strategic method of crime reduction and prevention, which builds or enhances partnerships within communities. Community justice policies confront crime and delinquency through proactive problem-solving practices aimed at prevention, control, reduction, and reparation of the harm crime has caused. The goal is to create and maintain vital, healthy, safe, and just communities and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

APPA position statement. APPA believes that, at times, traditional criminal and juvenile justice policies and practices have not been able to attain genuine peace and safety and may have alienated and ignored victims and citizens. Community justice principles of crime prevention plus victim and community reparation offer greater hope of securing genuine peace and justice and of gaining community satisfaction with its justice system.

APPA therefore resolves that the principles of community justice will guide the work of the organization in keeping with its proclaimed motto of "Community Justice and Safety for All." The vision of APPA is a community justice vision. This vision will guide the organization in promoting adult and juvenile probation and parole policies and practices that are grounded in community justice principles and values.

Principles of community justice. The community is the nexus of community justice; therefore, each individual community must ultimately define the concept and practice of community justice. The work must nonetheless remain true to an ideal as expressed by the following guiding principles.

Core values. The justice system benefits the community by:

These efforts help to create and maintain vital, healthy, safe, and just communities where crime cannot flourish.

The relationship between community justice and restorative justice. Community justice and restorative justice often are used as synonymous terms. While the terms are complementary, they are not interchangeable. Community justice is a strategic method to control and reduce crime and therefore affects the system in which we work. Restorative justice is a process of responding to criminal acts and affects how we do our work. In other words, community justice seeks to transform the justice system to one that is inclusive and works in partnership with the community in order to affect the community environment. Restorative justice practices promote reparation for all parties harmed by criminal acts. The desired results are peaceful, harmonious, and just relationships among individual victims, offenders, and their communities. Positive human relationships contribute to a positive community environment. Restorative justice is therefore crucial to the success of a community justice strategy.

Community justice strategy. A comprehensive community justice strategy:

Promising Practices

The Ohio DRC protects and supports Ohioans by ensuring that adult felony offenders are effectively supervised in environments that are safe, humane and appropriately secure. In partnership with communities, we will provide citizen safety and victim reparation. Through rehabilitative and restorative programming, we seek to instill in offenders an improved sense of responsibility and the capacity to become law-abiding members of society.

The DRC publishes a quarterly newsletter, the "Community Justice Beacon," that contains editorials, articles, and numerous resources relevant to community and restorative justice. It sponsors annual awards for "Excellence in Community Justice" that are presented by the Director. In addition, the DRC sponsors five Community Justice Councils that collaborate to promote the Department's mission and vision. They include Prison Council, Parole and Probation Council, Staff Council, Victims Council, and Local Programs Council.

- Use crime as an opportunity to strengthen the community by involving the public in the criminal justice process. CJAS develops and implements a structured system through which victims and the community collaborate with system representatives on appropriate sentencing options.

- Promote citizen reclamation of the criminal justice system through involvement in victim healing, accountability sentencing, and other restorative justice measures.

- Empower community members and system representatives to address criminal justice and community issues through the ongoing provision of appropriate education, training, advocacy, and system support.

Types of accountability sentencing include sentencing circles, conferences, and reparative panels. Circles are practiced for some kinds of nonviolent property crimes that have an impact on the community, such as drug dealing and criminal mischief. The most important element of accountability sentencing is that the victim wishes to take part in the process. If victims, prosecutors, or law enforcement involved make the referral, their opinion is heavily weighted and valued.

Referrals may be made to the Victim-Witness Division of the District Attorney's office by anyone involved in the case. The cases are then passed on to the Screening Panel, which consists of community members, probation officers, prosecutors, law enforcement, and victim advocates. The Screening Panel determines if:

- Information from the case file suggests the offense is appropriate for circle sentencing.

- The victim desires the process.

- The offender desires and would be affected positively by the process.

Cases that are accepted are assigned to a case manager and facilitator to organize accountability sentencing. Cases not accepted by the screening panel return to the assigned prosecutor and court docket. For additional information, contact Ellen Halbert, Director, Victim-Witness Division, Travis County District Attorney's Office (512-473-9079).

We are working toward appropriate victim involvement (in restorative justice) when:

1. Victims and victim advocates are represented on the governing bodies and initial planning committees.

2. Efforts to involve victims originate from a desire to assist in their recovery/reconstruction.

3. The safety of the victim is a fundamental element of program design.

4. Victims are presented with clear understandings of their roles, including potential benefits and risks to themselves and offenders.

5. Confidentiality is provided within clear guidelines.

6. Victims are provided as much information as possible about the case, the offense, and the offender.

7. Victims are able to identify and present their needs, and are provided options and choices.

8. Victim opportunities for involvement are maximized.

9. Program design provides for referrals for additional support and assistance.

10. To the extent possible, program services are made available to victims even when their offender has not been arrested.

Chapter 4 Supplement References

Achilles, M., and H. Zehr. 1999. Restorative Justice Signposts. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee.

American Probation and Parole Association (APPA). 2000. Position Statement on Community Justice. Lexington, KY: Author.

Lincoln Action Program. 2000. Youth Violence Alternatives Project, brochure. Lincoln, NE: Author.

O'Brien, S., G. Bazemore, and M. Umbreit. Restorative Juvenile Justice Policy Development and Implementation Assessment: A National Survey of States. Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Balanced and Restorative Justice Project

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2000 NVAA Text
Chapter 4
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