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DIVERSION AND TRANSFORMATION: Resolving Conflict Creatively between Victims and Youth Offenders
Our society is increasingly concerned about rising crime rates among youth. The current strategy of relying on incarceration as the primary means of responding to crime is ineffective and financially unsustainable. A new paradigm is being spearheaded by citizens and victims who feel that safety and well-being can be improved through a Community Justice model, which emphasizes crime prevention and restoring all those affected by crime.
The two parts of this educational resource are intended to raise public awareness of an alternative to the existing justice system's approach, to provide training and to encourage citizens to participate in community justice practices.
The first part, "DIVERSION" addresses the issue of alternatives to incarceration for low-risk offenders. The procedure and effectiveness of these processes are revealed through the computer-assisted communication between a "concerned" citizen (FATHER) and legal professionals including a police officer, criminologist, probation and parole officer, prosecutor, judge and community justice representative. Victim-Offender Mediation is demonstrated as an effective tool in a satisfactory justice-making process.
The second part, "TRANSFORMATION" demonstrates that principles of reconciliation and inter-personal healing not only play a role in preventing recidivism and restoring the community's overall sense of well-being but helps victims deal with the psychological consequences of crime. The Healing Circle presented in this part highlights all circle-type "conferencing" which offer creative approaches in achieving satisfying justice.
"WOW! What a delightful and engaging illustration of restorative justice principles and practices, I especially liked the comprehensive scope of the videos."
Susan L. Stacey, Restorative Justice Associate Planner Minnesota Department of Corrections
" Tape One - excellent overview to present to volunteers and to communities to promote understanding; Tape Two - also excellent for training and education purposes; Tape Three - so like family group conference model, is good resource to educate volunteers and model after the illustrated example"
Sandra Sobkowich, Coordinator Victim/Offender Reconciliation Calgary John Howard Society
" As a person who goes out and addresses the public on the myths and realities of crime, I feel your video package is a worthwhile educational program. What I found most important was the fact that you had real people in real situations to demonstrate your point. ...your video would be an excellent instrument in teaching new and existing staff about the issues of Diversion and Victim-Offender Mediation. The memory of the "Healing Circle" video still invokes a strong emotional response."
Troy Bolton, Supervisor, Community Development Operation Springboard, Scarborough