Restorative justice is a concept and response to crime that embraces the following values:
- Respect: All those involved in the crime or conflict are provided with opportunities for input and participation in the justice process as early and fully as possible.
- Reparation: This concept of justice includes restoring the health and healing of individuals and communities through a reasonable plan of accountability to repair the harm to the fullest extent possible.
Restorative justice principles are incorporated into the various Alternative Sentencing programs in the following ways:
In victim/offender mediation, trained mediators facilitate a dialogue between a victim and offender to discuss what happened, who is responsible, and how the harm will be repaired. An agreement may be reached that can include financial restitution, public service, a formal apology, and plans for the future. Offenders must demonstrate remorse and express the desire to take responsibility for their actions in order to participate.
Victim Empathy Classes
Provided to those offenders who are not eligible for mediation, the victim empathy classes are designed to teach youthful offenders the impact their crime has on victims, as well as the local community.
Restitution is required when a monetary amount of damages is identified. The Restitution Work Crew provides youthful offenders the opportunity to perform community service if they are unable to pay for damages. The amount of restitution ordered for each youth is divided by the current minimum wage, resulting in the amount of community service hours the youth is required to perform. Work projects are arranged with not-for-profit entities and are rotated among the communities of Delta County based upon requests from those communities. The work crew supervisor ensures that work projects are performed in a safe work environment, while providing the youth an opportunity to pay restitution in a timely manner.
Useful Public Service
Useful public service, or community service, is required of all youth and adults involved in Alternative Sentencing programs. Youthful offenders below a certain age, as well as those with felony offenses, are required to perform their community service under the supervision of the Useful Public Service Work Crew Supervisor.