Restorative Justice Alternative
How the MCJC Restorative Justice Alternative Works
People who commit certain lower level offenses are referred to the MCJC's Restorative Justice Alternative Program (RJAP) for a restorative justice process. Referrals may be made by school officials, local police or by the State's Attorney. The RJAP sets the stage for those who have been referred to make amends in a meaningful way and to avoid the expense of court proceedings.
An MCJC representative talks to the person who offended and the people affected to try to fully understand what happened and to choose the most appropriate restorative response. People affected by an offense choose whether to participate, and how.
Those who successfully complete the program either have no criminal record (if referred "precharge") or have the charges against them dropped.
People responsible for an offense may either complete the program or face criminal charges and go to court. If the person responsible for the offense chooses to participate in the RJAP, the matter will be dealt with in one or more of these ways:
- Conflict Education
The person who is referred attends the two-part Insights Into Conflict class; participates in a facilitated dialogue, if appropriate; and contributes positively to the community through volunteering.
- Restorative Justice Panel
The person who offended meets with a Restorative Justice Panel in the community where the offense occurred. The panel comprises a group of trained community volunteers who work with the participant and the victim, if any, to create a plan for the person who offended to learn more about the harm, complete activities for making amends, and develop ways to avoid re-offending.
- Restorative Conference
Restorative Conferencing brings together, to the extent possible, all of the people affected by an illegal act. This includes direct victims, supporters and community members of the victims, the persons who offended, their supporters and family, and a facilitator. The facilitator guides the participants through a series of questions that explore the thinking and feelings of the offenders and victims, what the participants believe to be the main issues, and what should be done to make amends. All participants are encouraged to speak, and all collaborate on a contract that lists actions to be performed by the persons who offended.