Restorative Justice Conferencing Program Benefits
For the Victim
The victims are given a voice in the justice process. The victims are encouraged to express their feelings about the incident and how it has impacted their lives. Victims also help determine what can be done to repair the harm done by the incident. For many victims, the conferencing process allows them to come to closure about the crime and reduces fear about the offender and possible re-victimization.
For the Offenders
In a restorative justice conference, offenders have the opportunity to accept responsibility for their actions and repair the harm that was done. Conferencing creates a deeper level of understanding about the crime's impact when offenders hear first hand how the crime affected the victims and community. In some cases, conferencing gives a young offender the chance to have charges dismissed when reparations have been made.
For Affected Community Members
Community members affected by the crime have the opportunity to express how the incident affected them, and to take part in determining reparations that need to be made and consequences for the offender. They play an important part in supporting the victim's healing and the offender's reintegration into the community.
For the Whole Community
In Restorative Justice, the focus of justice is balanced with concerns for the victim, the offender and the community. The needs and concerns of the victim/victim representatives and community are central to the process, and necessary for the offender’s understanding and accountability. The circle participants identify ways to repair the harm to victim, community and also to the offender and family. The offender then takes responsibility for those reparations. Through this process, the offender can be reintegrated into the community by being accountable and a part of the resolution of the incident. Restorative Justice supports all members of the community by encouraging community involvement and restoration.