The person harmed who participates in RCC are assured a safe, supportive, and confidential space to share their story. During the Conference they hear the youth acknowledge their wrong and apologize. The person harmed shares the impact of the harmful act, and what they need from the responsible youth to make things right. The conference coordinator will communicate with the person harmed throughout the process, or as requested, until everything asked for is done.
Youth who commit a crime and choose to participate in the RCC program do so voluntarily. They are partnered with a Conference Coordinator who will support them through the process. The RCC provides the youth an opportunity to regain the trust of their family and community, because the youth remains in the community where the harm occurred instead of being pushed out into the juvenile justice system. The youth works towards repairing the harm done, and having their case closed without charges filed against them upon successful completion.
Community members bring broad perspectives to conference as stakeholders who want to be a part of creating communities that are just and safe for everyone. Their participation supports healing as they witness the responsible youth’s truth-telling, share their own story, and support the youth to create an accountability plan that addresses the harm. A harmful act that hurts one member of a community creates ripples that affect the whole community. Conversely, robust community participation in RCC can inspire healing for those in conference and the community beyond, and raise awareness of restorative justice as an alternative to the current juvenile justice system.
Representatives of the criminal justice system who participate in Conference, such as DAs or police officers, bring their special knowledge to these restorative spaces. While they provide expertise on the workings of the juvenile system and the punishment for the offense committed by the youth, as members of the community themselves, they are invited to share their stories in circle to help deepen understanding of the harm, and to participate with the making of the Plan for the youth.
There is a growing interest in proven alternatives to our current juvenile justice system. Community members from varied backgrounds are expressing interest in learning more about restorative diversion programs such as RCC.
A surrogate victim is someone who has experienced a same or similar harm in the past and wish to share their own experience in circle. They sit in the place of the actual victim of the harm that declined participation.
If you would like more information about participating in an RCC as a volunteer or a surrogate victim, contact Yejide Ankobia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see a visual demonstrating the RCC process with various participants, click here.