#WeekInJustice: Week 112
I took some time with family today, and a new key PCAO employee was kind enough to offer to guest write the Weekly.
Emmanuelle Fahey has come on to research, design, build, and then lead the State’s first adult restorative justice program, with guidance from our tribal brothers and sisters and building off the longtime success of the Community Justice Boards in the juvenile arena.
Our program will be victim centric, and I had the absolute joy of watching Emmanuelle deliver a PhD level masterclass of a grant presentation on the subject of RJ this past week. Good things to come:
As this week’s guest writer, I am excited to be able to share with you all an intro to PCAO’s new Adult Restorative Justice Program, (RJ) oh ya!
For those unfamiliar- RJ, as a set of principles that give rise to practices, adheres to the idea that yes, crime is a violation of the law, but it is largely about a violation of people when we recognize how crime hurts individual victims, communities, and offenders.
Under the RJ approach, wrongdoers and those affected by a conflict or crime are offered a space for direct dialogue, if the victim so chooses. This dialogue process allows for a collaborative approach in identifying harms and ways to address those harms done. With the help of volunteer community members, ways in achieving justice can be tailored to the unique needs of respective communities.
In contrast to our traditional system, this voluntary process provides the victim with the opportunity to be heard, to tell their own story, and have a role in how justice will be achieved; a victim’s perspective is considered key to determining how to repair the harm. In addition, offenders are provided with a pathway to take accountability and make direct amends. The numerous studies that have shown positive correlations with increased perceived sense of safety and decreased levels of anger, fear, and anxiety for victims and reduced recidivism for offenders make us so jazzed to be able to provide this program for our county.
We are super happy to be collaborating with our core partners, the Public Defender’s office to help with compliance and The Center for Mediation and Facilitation, here in Tucson. Last week we were given the opportunity to present, all together, a proposal to Vitalyst Health Foundation as finalists for their Systems Change Grant. Crossing of all the fingers!
We are grateful to have the support of Victim Services for victims who choose to participate in this process. A special thank you to Jordi Carvalho for sharing her bountiful wisdom as we refine program design. Many thanks to Josh Moser and Robin Schwartz for their continued support and guidance in honing program eligibility, as well as everyone who has taken time out of their day to help me navigate the (endless) nuances of this legal process (you know who you are!).
Building this program is truly a team effort, and I feel very lucky to be a part of such a kind and hardworking crew here at PCAO. Happy and safe weekend to all-
Emmanuelle, Restorative Justice Coordinator- Adult program