Partnership with JCCO Yields Reduced Juvenile Recidivism
Waldo County Juvenile Community Corrections Officer (JCCO) Roy Curtis summarizes his experience with Restorative Justice by saying, “Over the last 5 years I have referred about 30 cases of first time juvenile offenders to the Restorative Justice team. The cases included criminal mischief, vandalism, shoplifting, assault, death threats, burglary and theft.
All contracts have been completed and recidivism has been about one third the rate of offenders handled with the traditional process.”
Curtis goes on to say, “A major part of the improvement comes from the effectiveness of the Circle approach used by the Restorative Justice Community Resolution Team (CRT) where all parties gather to understand each other and develop a written agreement. The agreement is designed to address the root cause of the offense, make the harmed parties whole, and foster healing.
“With the traditional approach, the JCCO doesn’t have access to all the harmed parties so it is more difficult to define the root cause of the problem, address harm and healing, and to work out an effective plan for the offender. “Healing obligations are actually included in the agreement that the offender has to complete.
It is not a ‘get out of jail free’ program. When they deal with the harmed people face-to-face in a CRT Circle, the offender quickly discovers he or she has harmed more people more deeply than they realized.
“But, it does not end there. The agreement typically requires the offender to do a number of things, as established by the offended parties, under the supervision of a Restorative Justice mentor to repair the damage done and to build positive relationships.
This is a very difficult, but rewarding, process for a youthful offender and his or her community.”
Curtis ended his recent interview by saying, “I am now referring many more first offender cases to Restorative Justice because the process is so effective that our joint result is better outcomes and the ability to handle more cases”.