Next year in Virginia?
from Cynthia Alkon's post on ADR Prof:
The Virginia Legislature did not pass the restorative justice bill, SB 679, during this legislative session. As I reported on Indisputably in January, the bill would have given formal structure to restorative justice programs in Virginia and would have specifically allowed a judge to order an offender into a restorative justice program.
The story of why this bill was introduced, and why it failed to pass this year, is an interesting one. The Senator who proposed the legislation, Emmet Hanger, had a personal experience with crime which seems to have left him both frustrated with the traditional criminal justice system and a believer in taking a more restorative approach. Someone broke into Senator Hanger’s car and stole some items. Senator Hanger was not pleased when the traditional justice system did not require the offender to return the items (particularly a leather jacket) or clean up the car.
In contrast, the legislators who opposed the bill focused on not
wanting to give judges the power to order restorative justice
pre-conviction. It seemed the bill would have passed had it limited the
use of restorative justice processes to the post-conviction stage.
Supporters of the bill were not prepared to make that compromise because
they felt it would run contrary both to the needs of those impacted by
crime and current research recommendations. I would also be concerned
that such a limitation written into the law could have jeopardized
existing restorative justice practices in Virginia.
Virginia has an active restorative justice community and the fact
that the bill did not pass is not expected to have a negative impact on
Read the whole post.