Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council supports and encourages the use of restorative justice practices in the Pikes Peak Region which embrace the follow principles.
- VOLUNTARY: All participants voluntarily agree to participate in a meeting in a safe setting with a trained facilitator.
- RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY: Offenders acknowledge their responsibility for the offense and are willing to repair its harm.
- VICTIMS: Restorative Justice is a victim centered process. Victims or victim surrogates are encouraged to attend.
- COMMUNITY: Affected members of the community are encouraged to attend and assist in determining how the harm will be repaired.
- RESPECT: All participants agree to treat one another with respect.
- AGREEMENT: All participants are willing to strive to agree on how the harm is to be repaired.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice is a process which emphasizes repairing the harm to the victim and the community caused by an offense while holding offenders accountable for their actions and giving victims a voice in the process. Restorative Justice practices include victim-offender conferences attended by the victim, or a victim advocate, the offender, community members, and supporters of the victim and offender. Conducted by a trained facilitator in a safe and respectful environment, these face to face encounters provide an opportunity for the offender to learn the impact of the offense from the victim, to accept responsibility for the harm caused and to participate in setting consequences to repair that harm. The consequences can include restitution, community service and written apologies among others. They are incorporated into a mutual agreement, signed by all participants, that sets time limits for completion.
Who Benefits from Restorative Justice?
The Victim has the opportunity to express the pain, fear, anger and loss suffered as a result of an offender’s actions. Victims have the chance to hear the offender’s acceptance of responsibility, expression of remorse and willingness to repair the harm. Victims are empowered by being given a voice in determining how the offender can best repair the harm. They let go of their need for revenge and begin the process of healing.
The Community is restored and becomes a safer place for everyone. Community members assist in determining the appropriate consequences. There is a shared sense that justice has been done and a larger sense of community is created among all of the participants.
The Offender is held accountable and given the opportunity to meet face to face with their victim and community members to make amends. Hearing the victim’s story of pain and loss, offenders often develop empathy for the victim, express remorse and apologize for their actions. Importantly, they are given the chance to repair the harm.
When can Restorative Justice be utilized?
Restorative Justice is appropriate in any instance when an offense has been committed and the offender feels remorseful and is willing to repair the harm. It can be utilized in courts, schools, businesses, faith based communities, prisons, or neighborhoods-wherever offenses occur. It has proven effective in reducing recidivism and school suspensions and expulsions.