Juvenile referrals to the Restorative Justice Program are typically made by Juvenile Court Intake, the Department of Human Services or a judge. However, referrals can also be made by school administration and parents. Referral forms can be found here.
This is a three hour offense specific workshop designed for juveniles aged 12 – 16. The workshop covers accountability, choice making, values, goal setting, empathy and the ripple effect. Everyone is required to participate in group discussion and behave respectfully in order to successfully complete the group. During the school year groups are held Tuesday evenings from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Our program offers specialized workshops for Retail Theft and AODA offenses that include guest speakers from local retail stores or Eau Claire County Drug Court graduates. There is a $20.00 workshop fee. (This fee may be waived in cases of significant financial hardship.)
This is a strength based program designed to help at-risk youth identify their strengths, set goals and identify the steps they need to take in order to achieve those goals. Mentors hold the youth accountable for their choices and work with them to develop empathy and accountability. The only requirement for participation in this program is that youth are willing to work toward positive change. Mentors address the issue(s) that resulted in their referral, but are also able to assist them in dealing with life issues that are contributing to their poor choice making. Mentors meet with kids at school during study hall. When that is not possible mentors meet with kids at other public venues including the library, Boys and Girls Club, park, etc. Mentors do not meet with kids at their home nor do they provide transportation.
It is recommended that potential mentees attend an Accountability Workshop before being matched with an Accountability Mentor.
Victim Offender Conferencing
This service provides crime victims and their offender(s) the opportunity to sit down together to discuss the crime. Victims are able to ask any lingering questions they may have about the incident and make the offender fully aware of the effects their criminal behavior had on their life. The offender has the opportunity to own up to their poor choices and provide a face to face apology to the victim. This is in direct contrast to the traditional justice system which often insists on no contact between victim and the offender. In some instances a repair plan is developed and agreed to by both parties. Restorative Justice (RJ) staff or volunteers meet with both the victim and offender before the conference to prepare them and answer any questions they may have. RJ staff also facilitates the conference ensuring a safe and neutral environment.
Circle conferencing services have also been provided for incidents involving neighborhood disturbances and peer bullying and/or fighting.
Victims who meet their offender(s) report higher satisfaction with the justice system response, less fear of being re-victimized, and more influence over the case outcome.
How can I benefit from Restorative Justice?
Offenders who meet their victim(s) are less likely to re-offend, more likely to meet their repair obligations, and more apt to experience meaningful accountability.
Communities that support Restorative Justice programming experience a better quality of living by discouraging crime, restoring victim well-being, and insisting on a standard of offender obligation.