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$150,000. That’s how much it costs Colorado taxpayers to incarcerate one youth for one year. First-time offenders are more than 80% likely to re-offend criminally. Restorative Justice is a program that works to eliminate both of these statistics by giving first-time juvenile offenders a chance to keep crime off of their record while at the same time making amends to the victim and the community. So how does it work?
Both the victim and suspect have to agree to mediation with a trained facilitator, law enforcement, court representatives and members of the community all at the table. The group then discusses the crime at hand, why it was wrong and how it affects all parties involved to hopefully curb any future behavior before coming up with a suitable contract that all parties can agree resolves the issue at hand.
Restorative Justice is already in practice at Frederick High School, and the Town was recently awarded a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) to roll out the program to patrol officers. While the focus of the program is youth, it could be applied to first-time offenders of all ages that meet the requirements. We are currently looking for volunteers who want to be involved with this program from its inception.
If you have a passion for interacting with youth through meaningful guidance, this could be a great way for you to give back and have a positive impact on youth in our community. All volunteer training is paid for by the JAG and will take place this spring. After training, the time commitment would be roughly five hours a month, which could fluctuate based on caseload and the volunteers’ interest. If you’re interested or would like more information, contact Court Clerk Linda Glantz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720.382.5531.