Putting the Pieces Together

Weaving the Strands of Accountability, Competency Development, and Community Safety

Discussion of the BARJ approach has been divided into separate components of accountability, competency development, and community safety to describe and clarify those objectives. In practice, however, strategies may overlap and contribute to more than one objective. Interventions that achieve more than one objective are preferable, because the impact can be mutually reinforcing and more cost effective.

When applying interventions, it is important to recognize that different techniques may impede or enhance one another. Therefore, a careful analysis of cost, expected outcomes, and the interactive effect of possible strategies is critical.

Table 4 provides a framework for analyzing the contributions of various strategies to each of the three objectives of the BARJ mission. A similar analysis can be done for other strategies that are not included in this Report.

Table 4. Weaving the Strands Together
Accountability Benefits
Competency Development Benefits
Community Safety Benefits
Community Service Makes amends to the community Develops skills, including work skills (experiential) Structures time, involves community in supervision
Victim-0ffender Mediation Answers personally to the one harmed and makes amends Develops communication and conflict resolution skills and empathy Reduces victim fear in most cases and increases understanding of crime
Small or large group Conferencing (Family Group Conferencing) Makes amends to all impacted by the offense Develops communication and conflict resolution skills and empathy Reduces victim fear in most cases and increases understanding of crime.
Monitored School Attendance   Builds skills Structures time, community supervises
Victim Empathy Classes Increases understanding of impact of own behavior Increases interpersonal skills Structures time
Residential Placement   May address some skills Provides high degree of supervision
Electronic Monitoring     Restricts movement to reduce opportunities to offend
Secure Detention     Removes youth from opportunity to offend
Drug Testing     Reduces likelihood of behavior associated with substance abuse
Work Experience Generates revenue to pay restituion Teaches work and social skills Structures time under adult supervision
Cognitive Skills Classes Increases understanding of responsibility for behavior and the impact of behavior Improves decisionmaking and critical thinking skills Structures youth's time

Balanced and Restorative Justice in Practice

Coparticipants in a BARJ system are crime victims; citizens, families, and community groups; juvenile offenders; and community juvenile justice professionals. Roles associated with each coparticipant group in the BARJ approach include the following:

  • Crime victims.

    • Receive information, support, assistance, compensation, and services.

    • Are involved and encouraged to provide input into the BARJ process, particularly into how juvenile offenders will repair the harm done.

    • Have the opportunity to meet with juvenile offenders in a safe environment and tell their story to the offenders and others if they so desire.

    • Receive restitution and/or other reparation from the juvenile offenders.

    • Provide guidance and consultation to juvenile justice professionals on planning and advisory groups.

    • Feel satisfied with the justice process.

  • Citizens, families, and community groups.

    • Play an advisory role to courts and community justice systems and/or play an active role in disposition through one or more neighborhood sanctioning processes.

    • Are involved to the greatest extent possible in holding juvenile offenders accountable and providing offender rehabilitation opportunities and community safety initiatives.

    • Provide support to victims.

    • Provide support to juvenile offenders as mentors, employers, and advocates.

    • Work with juvenile offenders on local community service projects.

    • Provide work so that juvenile offenders can pay restitution to victims and create service opportunities that develop skills and also allow juvenile offenders to make meaningful contributions to the quality of community life.

    • Assist families in supporting the offender to fulfill his or her obligation to repair the harm and increase his or her competencies.

    • Address social conditions that cause and support crime and violence within communities.

    • Monitor and supervise juvenile offenders to the greatest extent possible in the community.

  • Juvenile offenders.

    • Face the personal harm caused by their crimes by participating in victim-offender mediation or family group conferencing, if the victim is willing, or through other victim-awareness processes.

    • Complete restitution to their victims.

    • Provide meaningful service to repay the debt to their communities.

    • Complete work experience and active and productive tasks that increase skills and improve the community.

    • Improve decisionmaking skills and become involved in prevention efforts.

  • Community juvenile justice professionals.

    • Understand and integrate restorative justice values throughout their work.

    • Measure program and practice effectiveness by how well needs of individual victims, other community members, and juvenile offenders are addressed.

    • Develop regular reporting system on criteria such as restitution and completion of community service, juvenile offender skill development, and coparticipant satisfaction.

    • Become active members of the community and work with community groups, families, and individual citizens to:

      • Develop meaningful offender work and service opportunities.

      • Recruit community mentors and supervisors for youth.

      • Recruit and train community volunteers and coordinate victim-offender mediation and dialogue with them.

    • Provide consultation and training to schools on dispute resolution, anger management, critical thinking skills, and delinquency prevention.

    • Develop, in partnership with victims, community, and offenders, a continuum of alternatives to placement in a correctional facility for probation violations.

    • Creatively develop, with direct input from victims, community members, and offenders, programs that strengthen communities.

    The subsection, Balanced and Restorative Justice in Practice, is adapted from Bazemore, G. 1997 (May). What's new about the balanced approach? Juvenile and Family Court Journal. Reprinted with permission.

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OJJDP Report: Guide for Implementing the Balanced and Restorative Justice Model NCJ 167887