One mother of a youthful offender described their experience this way: “For the first time my son was forced to look at how his actions impacted others in a domino-like effect. The connection was genuine, as he had to look at the faces and into the eyes of numerous individuals wronged by the unscrupulous choice he had made on that day. Through the restorative process, he was forced to take responsibility for his behavior and to make a real effort to repair the damage he had caused so many people ... For the first time in his life, I believe my son is proud of the person he is becoming.”
Hundreds of families in Sonoma County have benefited from restorative programs. The upshot is that young people learn to take responsibility. They learn empathy and come to better understand the consequences of their actions. And they do this in a way that is often life-changing for them and their families. They are far less likely to re-offend.
Victims of crime often express satisfaction in being heard and in telling the person who harmed them, face to face, how that experience affected them. Restorative justice gives them a forum where they feel supported and safe in doing so.