Source: (1999) Washington, DC: US Dept of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention United States.

Balanced and restorative justice (BARJ) is a new framework for juvenile justice reform. The BARJ approach focuses on community needs and expectations in juvenile justice intervention – that is, needs and expectations that justice systems will improve public safety, sanction juvenile crime, and rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders. In this view, responding to the harm of crime is best accomplished with involvement from crime victims, citizens, and offenders in a process that maximizes their participation. For crime victims and community members to become fully engaged in the response to youth crime, juvenile justice professionals must begin to think about these stakeholders in different ways. This in turn will likely change the very role of the juvenile justice professional and the mandate of the juvenile justice system. In this context, and with emphasis on the perspectives of juvenile court judges, the authors of this paper examine the benefits and obstacles of engaging crime victims in the juvenile justice process. Their reflections are based on findings from a national survey of juvenile court judges in the United States, as well as from data derived from focus groups in four states.