A few weeks ago, The Chronicle of Social Change began “Positive Youth Justice: Curbing Crime, Building Assets,” a series that imagines an entire continuum of juvenile justice services built on the positive youth development framework. We accomplish the “creation” of that continuum by profiling successful programs and organizations all over the country.
Today, we introduce a restorative justice program in California that uses community conferencing to foster community solutions to delinquency.
Intro / Part One / Part Two
Last week, our series began with a look at a program that employed a positive youth development framework to steer kids away from behavior that might land them in the juvenile justice system.
This, we posited, would be the first step in full “Positive Youth Justice System.” The second logical step in such a system would be a program or set of programs used to divert juveniles from formal involvement in the system after an arrest.
That is the task at hand in the Oakland, Calif., where a nonprofit called Community Works leads a “community conferencing” model to mediate between juvenile offenders and the victims of their delinquency. After three years, the numbers suggest that youths who complete the program recidivate at a significantly lower rate than similar juveniles in the system.
The strategy hinges on youth accepting responsibility for the crime, and recognizing the impact of their actions on a victim, their family and the community.
[For more of this story, written by John Kelly, go to https://chronicleofsocialchang...s-oakland-calif/9481]