Juvenile Court Restorative Justice Diversion

Prioritizing Prevention

 
Opportunity for Growth and Understanding for Youth Offenders with Our Restorative Justice
 
As a result of growing juvenile court cases in Lowell, attributed in part to “zero tolerance” school policies and high rates of poverty, youth offenders are increasingly faced with an antagonistic and punitive court environment.
 
With your support, grant recipients Our Restorative Justice have improved this process by working with first time youth offenders. Founder, Erin Freeborn, built her program around the legal maxim that states “justice is better when it prevents rather than punishes”.
 
Our Restorative Justive, in collaboration with the juvenile court system, offers first time offenders the opportunity to seek reconciliation while avoiding formal charges and a criminal record. Robert and Raekwon, two such offenders, were 15 when they got into trouble that would have put them in court had they not been involved with Our Restorative Justice. Through Restorative Justice programs, the responsible party, their community, and the impacted party discuss the incident in a mediation process--allowing youth to take responsibility for their actions and benefit their families, school, and community.  
 
 Raekwon and Robert felt they were able to express themselves through mediation. This program invested more time in them than they felt the courts could. Lastly, it offered them a second chance. After Reparation Agreements, these youth train to act as mentors, allowing them to contribute to their community through their experience.
 
Past participants of the program have testified that the process creates a better understanding of what went wrong and led to the incident, improving the relationship between action and consequence. With your support, Our Restorative Justice continues to improve the Lowell area by recognizing the interconnectedness of all people and including silenced voices in the judiciary processes.