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Advancing Accountability: Moving Toward Victim Restoration.

Bender, Valerie R
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Pennsylvania Cmssn on Crime and Delinquency.

This White Paper discusses Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee’s (JJDPC’s) plan to advance accountability within juvenile justice by incorporating a victim restoration program. The core of Pennsylvania’s JJDPC victim restorative approach holds juvenile offenders accountable for the harms their crimes cause and holds them responsible for repairing those harms to the greatest extent possible. The victim restorative approach is rooted in the restorative justice philosophy that brings together the offender, the crime victim, and the community to jointly develop solutions that promote reparation, reconciliation, and reassurance. The JJDPC approach places reparative practices, such as paying restitution or completing community service, at the center of its accountability goal. The JJDPC victim restoration approach also focuses on juvenile offenders’ understanding the wrongfulness of their actions, the impact of the crime on the crime victim and community, and their responsibility for causing the harm. The paper outlines the rights of crime victims and focuses on their rights of participation in the victim restoration program. The roles of juvenile court judges in the victim restorative approach are reviewed, as are the roles of probation officers, crime victim advocates, crime victims, defense counsels, district attorneys, community-based treatment providers, parents/guardians, community members, law enforcement, and schools. Accountability activities are described and include victim impact statements, a victim/community awareness curriculum, juvenile offender apologies, a crime victims’ compensation fund, restitution, and meaningful community services. The actual restorative juvenile practices adopted by the JJDPC include victim/offender conferencing, restorative group conferencing, circles, school restorative conferencing, community justice panels, and victim impact panels. The JJDPC will continue to advocate that restitution be ordered in all cases where it applies and will continue to develop qualified trainers to teach facilitators how to use the victim/community awareness curriculum. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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