Would you be willing to help advance HF 46 “Office of Juvenile Restorative Justice” in the Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee this Tuesday, March 21st? MN’s juvenile justice system needs to provide the tool of restorative justice for every county attorney, peace officer and victim’s advocate. In SE MN, Three Rivers Restorative Justice began offering the tool of Restorative Justice (RJ) to justice system partners 18 months ago and 6 counties are now referring cases and new cases are coming almost daily. So far all of the victims of crime who have participated in restorative justice in SE MN have said they are pleased with the outcome and would recommend it to others. Juveniles who have caused harm and are given the option of participating in restorative justice conferences routinely show increased empathy, decreased reoffending and 90% of them have completed the reparations agreements from the conferences.
Nationwide 94% of those who suffered a crime and participate in RJ recommend it to others compared to 24% of crime victims who experience the traditional judicial process. Meta-analysis of RJ participants nationwide shows a 20-40% reduction in reoffending compared to control groups who go through the judicial system. And the cost of Restorative Justice is only 13% of the cost of the punitive justice system.
There are currently 17 counties in MN using restorative justice as well as the MN DOC. More than 15,000 Minnesotans who have either been harmed or have caused harm were referred to RJ last year and this number is growing. Expanding RJ to be a tool in the toolbelt of every juvenile justice partner in MN will decrease racial inequity, the ineffective use of punitive measures, case backlogs, long waits before cases are addressed, and reoffending. HF 46 will increase healing and enable those harmed by crime to move forward with hope. I agree with DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell who supports this bill and who said “Restorative justice lifts up and provides healing for victims and builds stronger communities. … One of the easiest places to introduce restorative justice has been in the juvenile justice sphere. I think it is going to be a game changer. Ultimately, we empower the entire system to think in a more restorative way.”
I am one of your constituents who knows the benefit of restorative practices for all involved and hope to hear from you regarding your support for HF 46.
Thank you for your efforts to improve our community.