Source: (2001) Court Executive Development Program, Phase III Project, Addendum (May). Williamsburg, VA: Institute for Court Management, National Center for State Courts. Downloaded 15 August 2005.
A revolution is occurring in criminal justice. Many theories on crime and
criminal behavior have been advanced throughout the history of criminal justice, and
criminal justice systems have developed and implemented changes based on some of
those theories. Although these changes may lead to creative innovations, they have
seldom changed the basic nature of the business of criminal justice. Today, a Ã¢Â€Âœparadigm
shiftÃ¢Â€? is changing the focus of the work of criminal justice away from the offender and
toward the community and victim(s) (Barajas, 1995).
Courts need a design that is non-competitive, non-contradictory, and strives
primarily for harmony rather than rationality. The way to achieve harmony in the system
is to focus on the community rather than on the offender. Rather than asking what to do
to the offenders or for them, the question becomes: How can we best protect and serve
the community? (Barajas, 1995)
This project sought to develop a community-based restorative justice mediation program for the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orlando, Florida. It traces the journey of establishing the need for the program and how this exercise was motivated by a strong desire to create a diversion program for juvenile offenders who commit offenses
for the first time in Central Florida. Creating a program within a specific community in
Central Florida will allow juvenile offenders to face their victims, community, and
family without having to spend time in a correctional facility. Author’s abstract.
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