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Home > Restorative Justice Sustainability Initiative

An Initiative to Develop a Sustainable Restorative Juvenile Justice System

Links to sections of the report Plus full zip download provided below

Cover Letter
January 25, 2017

Dear fellow Juvenile Justice Stakeholders,

The Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Board is pleased to present our report entitled “An Initiative to Develop A Sustainable Restorative Justice System” for the state of Maine. The JJAG commissioned this report, researched and developed by the Community Justice Network of Vermont, in furtherance of our goal to make Maine a restorative state, especially for juveniles. The concept and practice of Restorative Justice is uniquely suited to juveniles by holding youth accountable for their actions, educating them in corrective and restitution practices to actively and meaningfully repair the harm committed to the victim and community at large. Restorative Justice provides a mechanism for the youth to internalize how their actions affected others, make right the harm committed and naturally leads to successful reintegration into the community by working to address the victim and community’s needs. Restorative Justice is efficient, timely, affordable and effective.

The JJAG believes that by building a state wide restorative justice system that works in partnership with the criminal justice system we can better serve both our juveniles, our citizens/victims and alleviate our overburdened criminal justice system from a magnitude of cases best suited for the domain of a restorative justice. It is our vision and mission to build a parallel system of restorative justice that interfaces seamlessly with our current criminal justice system and that can be used as a viable, affordable, and meaningful alternative to the existing system now solely in place.

The attached report outlines the path forward for Maine to best develop a sustainable Restorative Justice System. The full report highlights in great detail the various productive restorative justice efforts around our state, country and the world. The intuitive and natural nature of Restorative Justice immediately resonates with our human nature to meaningfully repair the harm done, satisfy the victim’s needs, and as a result once again to assist the offender to function in the community as a productive member.

With a viable restorative justice system it is the JJAG’s learned assessment that more than a quarter to half of all cases now referred to the criminal justice system could be heard in a restorative venue.

Maine has a rich tradition utilizing restorative justice and the JJAG has historically funded restorative programs – programs that have overwhelmingly demonstrated their effectiveness. The time has arrived for Maine’s Restorative Justice programs to evolve into the creation of a Restorative System that provides for universal access to this effective method of addressing crime and disorder in our state.

Please read the attached report with the anticipation of learning what a Restorative Maine would mean for our youth, our citizens and our future! We look forward to your support and assistance in bringing this vision of a Restorative Maine to a reality – “Dirigo” is our state motto and now is the time for us to LEAD on this most important initiative for our youth and our communities.

Bartlett H. Stoodley, JJAG Chair

Edwin Chester, Esq., JJAG Vice Chair

Christine Thibeault, Esq., Systems Improvement Chair

Sgt. Jonathan Shapiro, Maine State Police

Colin O’Neill, LCSW, Associate Commissioner, MDOC