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‘Restorative justice’ bill supported at public hearing

January 20, 2014

Won Pat, in a letter, wrote that restorative justice has positive outcomes and helped reduce youth crime.

Patrick Wolff, founder of Inafa’maolek, spoke in favor of the bill. He said the organization has been using restorative justice since 1994 and has many success stories. Wolff explained restorative justice is founded on the belief that harm caused by a crime represents a conflict between offenders and victims in a community context. Sessions using restorative justice allow both the offender and the victim and their parents or guardians to work together for justice.

“There’s no mention of restorative justice in Guam statute,” Wolff said. By placing it into Guam law, more juveniles can use this process rather than go through the criminal justice system, Wolf said.

“This is effective mediation,” he said.

Art De Oro, a mediator and Inafa’maolek board member, also supported the bill, saying restorative justice was a huge help when he was an assistant principal at a local high school.

De Oro said one of the first times the school used restorative justice was for a riot among 12 students. Without restorative justice, the students would have been expelled immediately or sent to an alternative school, De Oro said.

Instead, the students, along with their parents, attended a Saturday restorative justice session and a solution was found. The students stayed out of trouble and graduated from school, De Oro said.

Another example was a student who stole a wallet from another student. Instead of going through the criminal justice system, the student had a restorative justice session with the other student and his father. The student, instead of being sent away to jail, was able to go back to school after his suspension.

“I’ve seen it work first-hand and I support the passage of this bill,” De Oro said.

Read the full article.


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