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Restorative Justice

Since its inception in 2009, the Division of Youth Services has been focused on establishing the Balanced and Restorative Justice Model as the foundation for providing services to the youth in the Indiana Department of Correction’s (IDOC) care.  This model is a proven approach to providing effective and successful services to adjudicated juveniles in secure correctional facilities.  The foundation of this program is based on a fundamental set of values and principles which are important to understand in order to achieve successful results.

With this philosophy in mind, DYS has implemented Restorative Justice Projects at each facility to assist with youth accountability and community safety.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Guide for Implementing the Balanced and Restorative Justice Model.

Balanced and Restorative Justice Philosophy
The foundation of restorative juvenile justice practice is a coherent set of values and principles, a guiding vision, and an action-oriented mission.

Principles of Restorative Justice

  • Crime is injury.
  • Crime hurts individual victims, communities, and juvenile offenders and creates an obligation to make things right.
  • All parties should be a part of the response to the crime, including the victim if he or she wishes, the community, and the juvenile offender.
  • The victim's perspective is central to deciding how to repair the harm caused by the crime.
  • Accountability for the juvenile offender means accepting responsibility and acting to repair the harm done.
  • The community is responsible for the well-being of all its members, including both victim and offender.
  • All human beings have dignity and worth.
  • Restoration -- repairing the harm and rebuilding relationships in the community -- is the primary goal of restorative juvenile justice.
  • Results are measured by how much repair was done rather than by how much punishment was inflicted.
  • Crime control cannot be achieved without active involvement of the community.
  • The juvenile justice process is respectful of age, abilities, sexual orientation, family status, and diverse cultures and backgrounds -- whether racial, ethnic, geographic, religious, economic, or other -- and all are given equal protection and due process.

The Restorative Justice Vision

  • Support from the community, opportunity to define the harm experienced, and participation in decision making about steps for repair result in increased victim recovery from the trauma of crime.
  • Community involvement in preventing and controlling juvenile crime, improving neighborhoods, and strengthening the bonds among community members results in community protection.
  • Through understanding the human impact of their behavior, accepting responsibility, expressing remorse, taking action to repair the damage, and developing their own capacities, juvenile offenders become fully integrated, respected members of the community.
  • Juvenile justice professionals, as community justice facilitators, organize and support processes in which individual crime victims, other community members, and juvenile offenders are involved in finding constructive resolutions to delinquency.

The Balanced Approach Mission
Figure 1 is a graphic representation of the balanced approach mission.