Restorative Justice Program

(RJP) Adult Program

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RJP Mission

The mission of the Restorative Justice Adult Program (RJP) is to provide a victim-centric, community-driven alternative to prosecution for qualifying cases through a facilitated dialogue process. The program’s core values are centered on neutrality, compassion, and inclusivity.

Group of people sitting on chairs in circle and discussing some problems together during therapy lesson

“The Pima County Restorative Justice Program (RJP) works with adults with eligible felony offenses that include an identifiable victim. Restorative Justice takes its root from centuries of indigenous cultural traditions and peace-making practices, and remains indebted to the Native people of North America and New Zealand.”


The mission of the Restorative Justice Adult Program (RJP) is to provide a victim-centric, community-driven alternative to prosecution for qualifying cases through a facilitated dialogue process. The program’s core values are centered on neutrality, compassion, and inclusivity.

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RJP Purpose

The Pima County Attorney’s Office recognizes the community’s need for an adult restorative justice program that will serve, for qualifying offenses, as a community driven alternative to our current retributive model. Under the current criminal justice system, victims of crime often wait months for resolution. Moreover, they might have informational needs about the incident that go unaddressed, or have requests for what accountability looks like that sit outside what the traditional court system can provide. Qualified people who remain incarcerated, as well as their families, experience adverse harm and are not provided a way to take direct accountability.

Restorative Justice offers victims a chance to speak directly (or indirectly) to the person who caused harm and to have more control over how justice should be realized. It also offers the person who caused harm a chance to hear the impact of their actions on the victim and the community. The process focuses on repairing the harm done and making things as right as possible.

RJP Vision

RJP seeks to repair harm for victims and other stakeholders affected by the crime, reduce risk of reoffending for offenders, and restore community relationships.

RJP Goals

The goals of the RJ Program are to:

  1. Provide an experience of healing for impacted parties by providing victims with a voice in the restorative process while providing an opportunity for the participant to be directly accountable for the harms done.
  2. Enhance public safety by addressing the underlying causes of criminal behavior.
  3. Mitigate racial disparities reflected in disproportionate contact with the justice system by prioritizing zip codes based on need and not limiting eligibility to first-time offenders.
  4. Reduce state, city, and county costs by lowering the number of court cases.

RJP Response to Crime

The Restorative Justice Program (RJP) emphasizes a victim-centric, offender-focused, and community-led approach to addressing crime. Here's an overview of its key principles and processes:

Victim-Centric Approach:
  • Victims are given the opportunity to participate directly or indirectly in the restorative justice process.
  • Participation is entirely voluntary, and victims have the right to decline to participate at any stage.
  • Victims hold veto authority regarding case referral, meaning they have the power to refuse the involvement of restorative justice in their case.
Offender-Focused Approach:
  • Restorative justice is most effective for offenders who are willing to mend relationships and repair the harm they caused to victims and the community.
  • Offenders are required to accept responsibility for their actions and actively engage in creating steps to be held accountable.
  • The process aims to address the root causes of the offender's actions, providing opportunities for needed social services.
Community-Led Process:
  • Trained volunteer facilitators lead the RJ Circle process.
  • Community members participate in the process, representing community concerns and ensuring that justice is rooted in the local context.
  • Community-based justice is realized through the involvement of volunteers and the direct engagement of the community in addressing the impacts of crime.

Overall, the RJP seeks to promote healing and restoration by involving victims, providing the space for offenders to hold themselves accountable, and integrating community perspectives into the justice process. This approach aims to address the broader impacts of crime beyond legal consequences, fostering understanding, empathy, and community resilience.

RJP Guiding Principles [2]

  1. Crime is a violation of people and relationships. Crime hurts individual victims, communities, and offenders and creates obligations “to put things right” to the extent possible. Restoration refers to repairing the harm done and rebuilding relationships in the community.
  2. Victims and the community are central to the justice process. The people most affected by crime should be the key decision makers in deciding how justice is achieved---victim (if they choose to be involved), community, and the offender.
  3. The primary focus is to assist victims and address their needs. The victim’s perspective is key to determining how to repair the harm resulting from the crime.
  4. A harm to one is a harm to all. Parties involved in the restorative justice process share responsibility for repairing harm. Offender has a personal responsibility to victims and to the community for wrongs committed by addressing the causes of their behavior. The community has a responsibility for the well-being of all its members, including both victims and offenders.
  5. All human beings have dignity and worth regardless of what they have done. Victim and offender are both able to move forward with respect, and dignity, and are re-integrated into the broader community as much as possible.


We are currently accepting volunteer applications for the following positions:

Restorative Justice Facilitator:

A team of two volunteer facilitators (1 facilitator, 1 co-facilitator) directs the RJ circles.  They conduct pre-circle preparation with all involved parties.  Facilitators are offered a stipend per case.

  • Role: The role of a facilitator is to create a safe space for open dialogue which includes respect, honesty, neutrality, and listening.  They facilitate a scripted process from talking about what happens to completing an Accountability Agreement with all parties. A facilitator is flexible, aware of communication and dialogue styles, and provides supportive space, as a neutral party, for all voices to be heard.

Community Member:

Community Member volunteers are needed in every circle conference to express the ripple effect that crime has on a community, thus showing the Responsible Party the larger impact of their actions.

  • Role:  Community Members participate in the RJ circle, voice their opinion and experiences, and tell the Responsible Party how their behavior impacts them and their community, and help the Responsible Party repair harm with the help of their own community connections.  They also have the option of assisting in post-circle monitoring.


All humans are hardwired to connect. Just as we need food, shelter and clothing, human beings also need strong and meaningful relationships to thrive. Restorative practices is a field within the social sciences that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities.

Play Video




Rehabilitation and Reentry.  Corrections at a Glance. Online: Click Here to View
University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, 2023; Zehr, Howard, The Little Book of Restorative Justice, 2015


Vera Institute of Justice. Incarceration Trends: Pima County, AZ. 2023. Online: Click Here to View
University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, 2023; Zehr, Howard, The Little Book of Restorative Justice, 2015

Program Contact Info For Volunteering:

Emmanuelle Fahey, Restorative Justice Coordinator

If you are a reporter looking to gather general information for a story, on deadline or for background, email or call Shawndrea Thomas, (520) 724-5738.

If you are looking for volunteer opportunities with youth, you might be interested in PCAO’s Community Justice Board program. The program uses restorative justice techniques as an alternative to prosecution for 1st and 2nd-time, non-violent, juvenile offenders. Contact Myrenia Aviles, for more information.