Restorative justice is an approach that connects the victim of a crime with the person who committed it in a structured meeting with others present. There's various ways of setting this up, but the process has the advantage of being more personal than the formal justice system, and more comprehensible. While it's also effective with adults, it seems tailor-made for juvenile justice settings, because the brains of adolescents are still developing and youth are often highly capable of changing their behavior.
But as you can imagine, it takes skill and dedication to run a successful restorative justice program, so I asked Dr. Gordon Bazemore, who's studied and implemented numerous restorative justice programs, what the hallmarks of a good restorative justice program were. (Bazemore is professor and director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and director of the Community Justice Institute, at Florida Atlantic University.)
Here's his reply:
Tip of the hat to Kris Miner.