Restorative Justice World

Connecting the World of Restorative & Community Justice

Restorative Justice World header image

Training Outline

Jan. 26, 2012

Mary White

Deputy County Attorney

Yuma County Attorney’s Office

Mary.white@yumacountyaz.gov

928-817-4335 (office)

928-257-9824 (cell)

TRAINING OUTLINE

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CONFERENCING

Yuma County Adult Probation

I.            What is Restorative Justice?

 

A. Conventional criminal justice system:

1. What law was broken?

2. Who done it?

3. What should punishment be?

 

B.  Restorative justice:

1. Who was hurt?

2. What are their needs?

3. Who is responsible for repairing harm/making amends/addressing needs?

4. How can future harm be prevented?

 

C.  Conventional Criminal Justice system:

State vs. Defendant.

Adversary process

Emphasis on punishment.

Defendant may get through entire case without making a

single statement.

Victim might make a statement in court.

Community is not involved unless jury trial.  Jurors are   outsiders not connected to defendant, victim or offense.

 

 

 

D. Restorative Justice:

Involves victim, offender and community.

Dialogue/communication.

Offender is held responsible to victim and community.

Emphasis is on repairing harm, meeting needs and

preventing future crimes.

 

E.   Restorative justice can take many forms

A. Victim-Offender Conferencing

B.  Community Justice Conferencing.

C.  Victim Impact Panels

D. Shuttle Mediation between victim & offender.

E.  Letter from offender to victim.

F.   Sentencing Circles.

G. More….

H. Restorative justice process can take place anywhere in criminal justice continuum (before charging, before sentencing, after sentencing).

 

F.   Goals of restorative justice fit with the goals of

 Probation.

Rehabilitation of defendant to prevent future crimes.

Restorative justice  brings in victims and the community.

This promotes empathy and responsibility in defendants

as well as helping victims.

 

Overview of Victim Offender Conferencing

 

A. Benefits to Victim

1.  Questions answered.

2.  Fears lessened.

3.  Healing.

4.  Better likelihood of restitution.

5. Closure.

 

 B.  Risk to Victim:  Re-Victimization

                1. Lack of offender remorse.

2. Abusive behavior by offender or offender’s

supporters.

4. Embarrassment from revealing private information.

 

  C. Benefits to Offender.

1.   Learns accountability for his/her actions

by understanding how others were harmed.

2.  Builds empathy.

3.  Motivated to improve competency.

 

D.  Risks to Offender.

               1. Victimization by conference participants or facilitators

2. Enters into Agreement that cannot be complied with.

3.  Possible VOP if  enters into an Agreement and then

violates it.

4.  Possible criminal prosecution if reveals new offenses.

5.   Embarrassment from revealing private information.

 

E. Benefits to Community.

1.  Victim functioning may improve with emotional health.

2.  Offender less likely to commit another crime.

 

F. Description of the Conferencing Process (overview)

1. Facilitators.

a. At least 2 facilitators per case.

b. Same facilitators  from  beginning to end.

c. Facilitators should be neutral. Not  defendant’s

own  probation officer, victim advocate or

attorney for  either party.

2.  Assessment of offender and victim.

3.  Advance preparation of all participants.

 

4.  The conference itself.

a. Participants in the conference.

1) Offender

2)  Victim

3)  Victim Supporters (sometimes)

4)  Offender Supporters (sometimes)

5)  Facilitators (at least 2)

6)  The victim may have supporters even if

defendant brings none.  However, no

conference should take place if the opposite is

true . (The defendant has supporters and the

victim has none.)

 

b.  Why supporters?

1) Victim Supporters

a) Help victim to feel safe and not isolated.

b) Help express the impact of the crime upon

the victim.

c) Show offender that his/her actions harmed

more  persons than the legal victim.

 

       2) Offender supporters

a) Show offender that his/her actions harmed

more persons than the legal victim.

b) Shows victim that offender has some

people who care about what he/she does.

c) Witness and support defendant’s

commitments to future behavior.

           c. Others who may be present at conference.

                1) Observers

a)  Should defendant’s probation officer, be

allowed to attend as an observer?

b) Facilitators attending for training purposes.

c) Not open to the public.

 

2) Assistants.

a) Spanish interpreter as needed.

b) Assistants for special needs  participants.

3) Security persons (if needed)

            5.  Follow-up.

                 a. Follow-up conferences.

b. Reporting to victim on defendant’s progress.

 

II.         Preparing for the Conference.

 

A.    Record Keeping;

1.Log of  all referrals:   date of referral, name of

defendant,  date of offense,  charges convicted, case #,

probation officer.   This should be a master log that also

contains names of facilitators for each case, names of

victims, dates of conferences, if any,  and final

outcomes of each case.

2.Make case file.

                 Case file will contain the contacts logs and  all

documents  & notes pertaining to the

case including facilitator’s report of  conference and of

final outcome

                3.Log all contacts & attempted

                contacts in each case with date & notes as to each

contact.

 

B.    Read Pre-Sentence Report, risks & needs assessments of defendant, police reports & victim statements.

 

C.     Prepare written Summary of Facts.

 

 

 

 

D.  Work in partnership with defendant’s probation

                officer.

Facilitators should consult with defendant’s probation

officer for guidance and encourage the officer to support

the defendant throughout the process.   The probation

officer should assist the facilitator making contacts with

defendant. The probation officer’s  insights and

knowledge of defendant can be valuable to the ultimate

success of the conference.

 

E.  First contact with offender.

1.   The first appointment with offender should be arranged by and in the presence of defendant’s probation officer.

This ensures that defendant attends  and

allows the facilitator to explain the process to both defendant and probation officer at the same time.

2. Only one of the facilitators is needed for this

appointment.

3.  Establish a relaxed, positive atmosphere.

4.  Be non-judgmental.   Allow and encourage defendant

to tell his/her story.

5. Explain the conferencing process- who will be present, etc.

6. Purposes of RJ conference:

a.    Hearing experiences of each participant.

b.   Dealing with emotional and material effects of offense.

c.    Learning what has happened since crime committed—with victim and with offender.

d.   Provides opportunity for offender to make amends to victim.

e.    Arranging for outcomes that both agree are fair and achievable.

f.     Provides opportunity for defendant to focus on the  future and setting positive goals.

5.  Check to see whether the defendant accepts

responsibility for the offense. Bring a written

Summary of Facts.  Does offender agree with it?

6.  Voluntary participation: offender may decline to

participate, at any point in the process, with no

repercussions as to his/her probation.

7.  However, if offender chooses to participate and  the

offender chooses to enter into an agreement  with

victim, offender may face consequences if he/she fails

to live up to this agreement.

8.  Assess language skills of defendant.  Will an

interpreter be needed at the conference?

 

     9. Is the offender appropriate for this conference?

a.Remorse

b.Ability to understand the process.

c.Ability to handle confrontation.

d. Victim safety – assess risk of victim being

re-tramatized.

10. Discuss support persons.  Explain to offender that all

of the offender’s support persons must be present at

your next meeting with defendant.   If you have not

met someone and explained the process, that person

cannot attend the conference.

11.  Ask the offender what he can offer to restore the

victim—not a commitment, just to get him thinking

about it..

 

F. Contacting the victim.

1. Letter (English and/or Spanish)

2. Phone Call (Spanish speaking Facilitator if necessary)

a.    Active listening.

b.   Focus on making an appointment.

c.    Avoid detailed discussion that may substitute for appointment.

d.   Do not insist on meeting if victim is unwilling.

e.    Bring up the idea of support persons and make it clear that these persons must be at the appointment along with the victim.

(If supporters cannot be present at the first appointment with victim, a later meeting with them must be scheduled.)

f.     If you have not met with a supporter and explained the process, that person cannot attend the conference.

 

G. First meeting with victim (both Facilitators)

1.Is the Victim appropriate for this conference?

2. Do not make promises or raise false hopes (recovery of

stolen property, apology, etc.)

3. Explain that either party may decline to participate at

any time.   Explain that offender has the same option as

victim to change mind and decline to proceed.

4. Assess victim’s language skills.  Will an interpreter be needed at the conference?

 

H. Are the Victim’s Supporter’s appropriate?

1. Supporters may be friends, family, pastor, counselor, neighbor, etc. but NOT attorney representing victim.

2.  Facilitators meet personally with every person who will be present at the conference.

3.  Each person present must understand the ground rules.

4. Ground rules for supporters:

*  Each supporter will have an opportunity to speak.

*  He/she may be asked questions by the victim.

*  He/she  is not allowed to interrupt any participant.

 

*The order of speaking must be observed.  With the

exception of the victim, participants will not be

allowed to speak concerning what they have heard

until their turn.

5.  Facilitator must be aware of expectations of all participants.

6.  Assess personalities:   Facilitator has authority to exclude a supporter from participating.  Avoid persons who are excessively angry, overly talkative, dominating or otherwise unable to behave appropriately.  SAFETY is paramount.

 

I. 2nd Meeting with Offender: Preparing the Offender &

Supporters for the conference. (both Facilitators)

1. Meet with offender to prepare for conference.  Offender’s supporters must also be present.

2.  Explain the process and purposes of conference for supporters.

3.  Offender  must agree with Summary of Facts.

4. Ground rules:

a.    Respect and courtesy.

b.   No interrupting or speaking out of turn.

c.    The defendant will have an opportunity to speak.  He/she may be asked questions by the victim.  He/she is not allowed to question or interrupt any participant.   The order of speaking must be observed.  With the exception of the victim, participants will not be allowed to speak concerning what they have heard until their turn.

d.   No dispute about facts/arguing about what happened. Re-affirm offender’s agreement with Summary of Facts.

e.    Truthfulness.

 

 

f.     No advocacy.  Offender supporters speak about how they were affected and support offender’s commitment to change.  They do not advocate on behalf of offender.

g.   No interrogations or cross-examinations.   Victim may ask questions of offender but all other participants are to express their own point of view

and not question others.   This is a forum for each person to express their own feelings and tell their own story.

h.   Offender is not allowed to question the victim.

5. Conference is not open to the public but there is no way to enforce confidentiality if those present choose to talk about it.

 

         J. Are the Offender’s Supporters appropriate?

1.  Supporters may be family members, friends, neighbors, counselors, pastor, even the defendant’s probation officer if that is the defendant’s request but NOT attorney representing defendant.

2.  Facilitators meet personally with every person who will be present at the conference.

3.  Each person present must understand the ground rules.

4. Facilitator must be aware of expectations of all

participants.

5. Ground rules for supporters:

Each supporter will have an opportunity to speak.

He/she may be asked questions by the victim.  He/she

is not allowed to interrupt any participant.

The order of speaking must be observed.  With the

exception of the victim, participants will not be

allowed to speak concerning what they have heard until

their turn.

7.   Assess personalities:   Facilitator has authority to exclude a supporter from participating.  Avoid persons who are excessively angry, overly talkative, dominating or otherwise unable to behave appropriately.  SAFETY is paramount.

 

          K. 2nd Meeting with victim: Preparing the Victim &

Supporters for the conference (both Facilitators)

1.  Do not make promises or raise hopes.

2.  Explain ground rules.  Respect and courtesy.

3.  Explain the order in which people will speak at conference.   Explain why “offender” usually speaks first.   Show respect for victim by allowing them to choose to speak first if they would like.

4. Confidentiality:  Conference is not open to the public but there is no way to enforce confidentiality if those present choose to talk about it.

5. Ground rules for supporters:  Each supporter will have an opportunity to speak.  He/she may be asked questions by the victim.  He/she is not allowed to  interrupt any participant.   The order of speaking must be observed.  With the exception of the victim, participants will not be allowed to speak concerning what they have heard until their turn.

 

L. Location, time, & room set-up for the conference:

     1.   Safety of all concerned.

3.   Victim convenience.

4.   Suggestions:  YPD Community Room, Main Library, law office conference room, churches. More?

      IV. The Conference

 

A.  Role of facilitators.

1. Authority

2. Respect & courtesy to all participants.

a.    Don’t let participants argue.

b.   If arguing persists, use your discretion to end the conference.

c.    Make sure that each participant is allowed their turn to speak without interruption.

d.   Be careful of momentum building up to condemn defendant if multiple supporters are participating.

(Defendant’s supporters may encourage this.)

3. Do not advocate or speak for either party.

(don’t take sides)

4. Division of responsibilities between 2 facilitators.

5. Paraphrase & summarize if needed.

1.   If a participant is not being understood

2.   Summarize when stuck  – a brief summary of what has been said can help the discussion flow.

3.   Don’t overdo summarizing.

4.   Don’t interrupt discussion to summarize.

5.   Do interrupt if you feel participants are being misunderstood.

6.  Don’t solve problems for participants.

1.   Participants need to be in charge of determining conference outcome.

2.   Facilitators can assist with suggestions and “brain storming” only if participants are truly stuck and ask for facilitator’s suggestions.

7.  Silence is okay.  Allow an awkward silence.  Do not

rush on to the next question.  Participants may need

time  to think and to work through emotions.

8.  Avoid asking “why”.

 

B.   Seating arrangements.

1. Victim chooses where he/she sits.

2. Victim/supporters across from defendant/supporters.

3. Facilitators on separate sides/ends of table.

4. Table or no table?

 

C.   Timing of arrivals.

1. Victim should be given an arrival time earlier than defendant.

2. Victim allowed to enter the room first and to choose seat.

 

D.  Length of conference.

 

E.   The Script

1.   Summary of Facts

2.   Offender’s story told first.

3.   Victim’s story & questions.

4.   Victim supporters speak.

5.   Offender supporters speak.

6.   Offender responds.

7.   Victim responds. What would victim like to see happen as a result of this conference?

8.   Discussion of ways for offender to make amends/repair harm (if appropriate)

9.   Agreement in writing (if appropriate)

10.          Closing.

 

F.   Outcomes.

1.   Dialogue

a.     Victim expresses feelings.

b.     Victim asks questions

2.   Expression of remorse

3.   Forgiveness

4.  Reconciliation

5.   Empathy of offender toward victim

6.   Empathy of victim toward offender.

7.   Restitution

8.   Written Agreement

9.   Defendant motivated to build competency (treatment, GED, job skills, life skills, etc.)

10.               Defendant will not re-offend

 

Thank everyone for attending.

 

Allow victim  and victim’s supporters to leave first, with sufficient time for them to be completely on their way before offender and offender’s supporters leave the premises.

 

G.  Handling difficulties that may arise.

1.  Okay to take a recess.

a.  Participant may need a break to compose themselves if overcome with emotion.

b.  Bathroom or cigarette breaks.

c.  Cooling off if participants becoming upset (but is not yet to point that conference has to be terminated).

2. Authority of facilitator to end conference.

3. Authority of facilitator to require supporter to leave.

4. Authority of facilitator to keep conference within reasonable time limits.

5. Tactful ways to stop someone who is interrupting or talking out of turn.

 

H.  Refreshments?  At least water.

 

III.      Follow-up.

 

A. Debrief with your co-facilitator.

 

A. Scheduling follow-up conferences as needed.

 

B.  Reporting to victim on defendant’s progress.

 

B.  What happens if offender fails to carry out the agreement?

 

 

 

No Comments

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment