Restorative justice offers alternatives to our traditional juvenile and criminal justice systems and harsh school discipline processes. Rather than focusing on punishment, restorative justice seeks to repair the harm done. At its best, through face-to-face dialogue, restorative justice results in consensus-based plans that meet victim-identified needs in the wake of a crime. This can take many forms, most notably conferencing models, victim-offender dialogue, and circle processes. In applications with youth, it can prevent both contact with the juvenile justice system and school expulsions and suspensions. Restorative justice also holds the potential for victims and their families to have a direct voice in determining just outcomes, and reestablishes the role of the community in supporting all parties affected by crime. Several restorative models have been shown to reduce recidivism and, when embraced as a larger-scale solution to wrongdoing, can minimize the social and fiscal costs of crime.
NCCD staff have expertise in restorative justice and restorative lawyering and have successfully implemented a restorative juvenile diversion program in Alameda County, CA. The model is unique in its explicit goals of reducing incarceration, recidivism, and disproportionate minority contact, while centralizing victim-identified needs. Working with multiple police departments, probation, and the District Attorney’s Office, the program diverts mid-range and serious crimes generally ineligible for diversion. Today, NCCD is leading efforts to institutionalize this and other restorative justice alternatives to juvenile and adult incarceration and zero-tolerance school discipline policies across California and the nation. For more information about restorative justice at NCCD, please contact Sujatha Baliga, Director, Restorative Justice Project.
To learn more about restorative justice projects at NCCD, click here.
*Pictured above: NCCD's Sujatha Baliga, Director of the Restorative Justice Project, facilitating a circle process.