Yet Vermont’s judicial system now responds to this kind of juvenile criminal behavior with a process called restorative justice. Restorative Justice (RJ) is used to divert cases from the court system into a conference that includes truth telling, acknowledgment of any harm done, compassion and developing an appropriate restitution plan. This conference included all of the boys, who stated their role in causing the damage. They then heard the emotional story of the older woman and how she feared being targeted again. Together they created a restorative justice plan that included restitution to the victims, community service and a connection to each other that eased the woman’s fears.
Perspective: Compassion can change the world
from Jody Tiller Mackey's article in The News Tribune:
One night, a few boys with baseball bats and an unthinking need for excitement cruised their small-town Vermont neighborhood smashing mailboxes. An elderly woman arose the next day, the first anniversary of her husband’s death, to find the mailbox, his very last woodworking project, smashed in her front yard. Emotionally distraught, she didn’t know what to think. Had she been targeted; was something like this going to happen again? In our traditional justice system she might never get to find out the answer to those questions.