It is often overlooked that many offenders in juvenile crimes are victims themselves. Studies show that child abuse and neglect increase a child’s likelihood of juvenile arrest. More than 50 percent of youth offenders have been abused or neglected.
In these cases, typical criminal justice isn’t going to meet the needs of the victims or the offender.
According to restorative justice pioneer Howard Zehr, when a crime or offense is committed, the offender then has an obligation to restore the victim — and by extension, the community — to the state of welfare that existed before the offense.
This principle of balance gives equal weight to holding offenders accountable to victims, ensuring community safety and providing positive, productive development for offenders so they can pursue legitimate endeavors after their cases have reached a conclusion.
Show your support for the work of American Humane Association in implementing Restorative Justice programs for juvenile offenders.