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‘Restorative justice for veterans: the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department’s Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration (COVER).

Schwartz, Sunny
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) Washington University Journal of Law and Policy. 36:47-63.

In 2008, for the first time in history, more than one in every one hundred adults in America was in jail or prison. (1) Hundreds of thousands of formerly incarcerated people reenter communities each year and, for many, the reentry process may occur multiple times in a single year. (2) Shockingly, more than two-thirds of released state prisoners were re-arrested and more than half were returned to prison within three years of their release. (3) In recognition of this failure of corrections systems nationwide, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD) has, for the past several decades, raised the standard of professional obligation by redefining and expanding its role as a law enforcement agency to include intervention and prevention programs that utilize the principles of restorative justice to focus on offender accountability, victim restoration, and community involvement. (4) The most recent of these programs is the Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration (COVER), which applies the principles of restorative justice to one of the fastest growing segments of the criminal justice system: prisoners with prior military service. (5) This Article describes the development and implementation of the COVER Program and how the application of a “hybrid” approach to restorative justice can lead to a more humane, effective, and dignified judicial process to address the emerging issue of increased numbers of justice-involved veterans. (excerpt)


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