Restorative Justice in Courts
"One bad choice doesn't have to predict a young person's future."
Youth that get caught up in the juvenile justice system are 41% more likely to enter adult prison by the time they are 25. ⁴
Crime is a form of interpersonal, emotionally charged conflict. Restorative justice works to welcome this expression of human emotions to facilitate the collaborative process of healing and harmony, making amends, and restoring interpersonal relationships. ³
Restorative justice works collaboratively with law enforcement, the community, the victims, and the offender to work together to process the impact of the criminal act. The whole community works together to come up with a more effective and satisfying resolution than jail or prison time for the offender. ¹
Guiding Principles of Restorative Justice
1. Crime is an offense against human relationships.
2. Victims and the community are central to justice processes.
3. The first priority of justice processes is to assist victims.
4. The second priority is to restore the community, to the degree possible.
5. The offender has personal responsibility to victims and to the community for crimes committed.
6. Stakeholders share responsibilities for restorative justice through partnerships for action.
7. The offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a result of the restorative justice experience. ³
Crime is a violation of interpersonal relationships
violations create obligations and liabilities
restorative justice seeks to heal and make things right
the justice process belongs to the community
Restorative justice in erie county
The Restorative Practices Pilot Program is offered by Erie County Family Court and Erie County Probation, administered by Child & Family Services' Center for Resolution and Justice in collaboration with the Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition.
2495 Main Street, Suite 357
Buffalo, NY 14214
(video courtesy of TED)
“I had to acknowledge that I had hurt others. I also had to acknowledge that I had been hurt. The second thing was I had to apologize to the people I had hurt. Even though I had no expectations of them accepting it, it was important to do because it was the right thing. But I also had to apologize to myself. The third thing was atoning. For me, atoning meant going back into my community and working with at-risk youth who were on the same path, but also becoming at one with myself.”
1. Carman, E. (2013). Alarming Disparities: the disproportionate number of African American and Hispanic people in Erie County Criminal Justice System. OPEN Buffalo.
2. Zehr, H. The Little Book of Restorative Justice.
3. U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. (2007, November). Restorative justice on-line notebook.
4. Child & Family Services' Center for Resolution and Justice. "Juvenile Restorative Justice."