Restorative Justice is a response to crime that provides opportunities for those most directly affected,-the victim, the offender, their families and representatives of the community – to be directly involved in responding to the harm caused by the crime, through mediation and dialogue whenever possible.
The principles of Restorative Justice draw upon the wisdom of indigenous cultures around the world such as the peacemaking and talking circles of the Native American culture; the Native Hawaiian practice of Hoho-pono; the Palestinian process of Sulha and the Palava huts in the West African nation of Liberia.
Research has found restorative justice programs to be effective in working with nearly all types of property crimes and minor assaults. Numerous studies have found high levels of victim and offender satisfaction with the process and outcome, greater likelihood of successful restitution completion by the offender, reduced fear among victims and reduced frequency and severity of further criminal behaviors.
Restorative justice is not a technique or series of programs. It is an entirely different way of dealing with crime and conflict in our communities and nations.
The Adams County Teen Court uses this model as we believe that youth, recognizing and admitting their guilt, can use their time and talents to repair the harm they caused by their behavior. The goal is for them to repair the damage done to the direct victim, the community, their families and to themselves.