Valentine’s Day 2012 was a good one! Judges, court clerks, law enforcement, social workers, fellow nonprofit providers, clergy, attorney’s and victim advocates attended a stakeholder meeting hosted by SCVRJP. (New website launched today – check it out!)
The panel speakers came from a variety of backgrounds and experiences with Restorative Justice.
Randy shared the experience of losing his daughter, after a drunk driver, only a month older, caused a crash that took her life. We reached out to Randy, and only after his own reckless driving, and deferred prosecution, did he engage with SCVRJP. He now continues to volunteer, continues to share the gut wrenching and painful story of life without Alyssa.
Mark, a probation agent, explained his interaction with Restorative Justice. He provided a case example, where the former “all american-kid” with no record caused a traffic fatality. The young man, the former all-american, still volunteers telling his story. The agent verified the work and outcomes of Restorative Justice.
Local prosecutor shared how he uses the program, offers “carrots”, which I explained to others can look like a stick!
A community volunteer shared her experiences with SCVRJP and Restorative Justice. She explained the connections between prevention, intervention and treatment of health issues. She had examples at every level, Circles that provided successful outcomes with each.
A middle school counselor shared using Circles in school, to develop emotional connections for students. A college student shared his experience, relating how a blackout resulted in frightening a community member. He shared how meeting with the victim helped the victim, helped him. He shared the meeting started a little tense, yet was helpful to both parties. He also shared getting two hugs on arrival, one from the RJ facilitator and the other from the victim.
SCVRJP collected surveys on what works, what’s needed and other helpful comments. The power in the meeting was some brainstorming about potential sessions. We showed people what we do, when Randy shared part of his story. Each speaker provided a different perspective, building on the evidence that Restorative Justice works.
I feel so blessed to get to work in a community program providing Restorative Justice. SCVRJP has specialized in Restorative Justice Circles. We are starting year 11 of serving our community and today, was a perfect celebration of a community coming together and finding healing, connection and prevention!