What is Restorative Justice?
The Missouri Department of Corrections is committed to the practice of Restorative Justice in the Criminal Justice System. Restorative Justice is not new. It is an ancient philosophy that addresses criminal behavior with the fundamental philosophy that when a crime is committed, a debt is incurred. Restorative Justice holds the offender accountable and provides a means for them to repay their debt to the victim and the community.
Restorative Justice also provides the offender the opportunity to leave the system with an improved attitude and sense of belonging as well as strengthening the social bonds that serve as the foundation of our communities. Restorative Justice can only be achieved by the combined efforts of victims, concerned citizens, federal, state and local governments, and non-profit agencies. Restorative Justice Programs are currently taking place in institutions, Probation and Parole offices and communities throughout the state. This brochure provides an overview of those programs, practices and ways you can become involved and improve the quality of life in our communities and state.
Institutional Restorative Justice Programs
Missouri was one of the first states to offer reparative activities in all of its adult institutions. The department encourages offenders to reflect on the harm caused by their criminal behavior through participation in reparative activities. Each offender is given the opportunity to participate in reparative activities while incarcerated.
The volunteer hours of offenders participating in restorative justice activities in the institutions has been rising since 2011. Not-for-profit agencies and crime victims statewide receive reparative products and services. Examples include the Salvation Army, children’s hospitals, senior citizen homes, schools, KidSmart, Newborns in Need, Parents of Murdered Children, Bikes for Tots, Head Start, Boys and Girls Club, VA Hospitals, homeless shelters, and many more.
Offenders make quilts, wooden toys, coloring books, educational materials, posters, birdhouses, kiddy kapps, PET carts for the disabled, etc. Offenders also participate in various sewing and woodworking projects, bike refurbishing, Meals on Wheels, and Habitat for Humanity.
In 2014, nearly 180 tons of fruits and vegetables were harvested from inmate gardens and delivered to food pantries, domestic violence shelters, nursing homes, etc.
Restorative Justice holds the offender accountable and provides a means for them to repay their debt to the victim and the community.
Probation and Parole Restorative Justice Programs
Community Service: Many offenders are ordered to complete a set amount of community service hours as partial repayment of the debt that has occurred from their criminal behavior. Offenders are assigned to non-profit or tax-supported agencies where the work performed serves public needs. In 2013, Probation and Parole staff held offenders accountable by enforcing the completion of nearly 385,000 community service hours, which translates into nearly $3 million in free labor and services.
Reparation Boards: Reparation Boards (also known as Neighborhood Accountability Boards) are comprised of diverse groups of citizens, who serve as the face and voice of the community. Board members meet with the offenders on a regular basis. Through innovative and creative intervention plans, the offender is held accountable while repairing the harm to victims and communities.
Restitution and Crime Victim Compensation Fund: Many offenders are ordered by the court to pay financial restitution to their victims as well as payments to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF). Probation and Parole Officers monitor the offenders compliance with court-ordered financial obligations. In 2013, Probation and Parole staff held offenders accountable by enforcing the collection of nearly $10.6 million in restitution paid back to victims and more than $590,000 was deposited into the CVCF.
Victim Impact Statements: All crime victims have an opportunity to provide information outlining what impact the crime has had on their lives through the court reports prepared by Probation and Parole staff. All identifiable victims are encouraged to provide a statement for the court, which may include physical and/or psychological harm and financial loss.
Impact of Crime on Victims Classes
Offenders participate in Impact of Crime on Victims classes throughout the state. The 40-hour curriculum provides victims with a safe and structured environment to talk about the impact of crime on their lives. Classes help offenders develop a sensitivity toward victims and help prevent further victimization. Offenders are expected to develop respect for the rights of others and to be held accountable for their behavior. Each of the 10 classes covers a different topic including:
- Overview of victimization
- Property crimes;
- Child and elder abuse;
- Domestic violence;
- Sexual assault;
- Drunk driving;
- Drugs; and
Since its inception, more than 50,000 offenders have successfully completed the program.
2729 Plaza Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65102
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