Back to RJ Archive

Building Relationships, Developing Competency: Toward a Restorative Approach to Offender Reintegration in a Balanced Juvenile Justice System

Bazemore, Gordon
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention.

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 practice BARJ consists of engaging citizens and community groups both as clients of juvenile justice services and as resources in a more effective response to youth crime. In this monograph, Bazemore and Nissen concentrate on the aims of restorative justice with respect to the offender. In recent decades much has been done to address the needs and rights of victims of crime, with restorative justice advocates being part of those changes. In terms of offenders, much of restorative justice theory and practice has emphasized the role of the offender in taking responsibility for his or her actions and in repairing the harm resulting from those actions. While this is all good, Bazemore and Nissen raise the following question. What then happens with respect to the offender? The authors argue that a restorative justice approach must seek not only responsibility and reparation, but also rehabilitation and reintegration of the offender, especially the juvenile offender. They focus this perspective around two core ideas: building relationships between youths and law-abiding adults; and developing competencies or capacities in youth for positive behavior that contributes to the welfare of others.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now