Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Local MRTA Members Serve on Restorative Justice Board

Lincoln County has many active retired educators who make a positive difference in our community.  Several members of the Lincoln County Area Retired School Personnel have been serving on a unique justice program board.  The Restorative Justice program was created by the 45th Judicial Circuit in May of 2012.  The only other Missouri county with this program is Greene County.

The basic premise of the program is to work with non-violent persons that have committed a misdemeanor or felony for the first time and have been approved by the court to participate in the program.  Restorative Justice is more concerned with the preservation and restoration of relationships both at an individual level and at a community level.

The board works with the offenders for one year (or a specified period of time).  The offender is required to meet with the board, one time per month, as well as, with a probation officer each month. During the period of time in the program, clients assigned to the program must accomplish a variety of goals that may include community service hours, payment of restitution, completion of their high school diploma; writing of essays; taking a prison tour and completing other items, as deemed appropriate. 

Briefly, Restorative Justice serves to:

1. Bring about restitution for crimes in a way that benefits the victim, offender and the community.
2. To do so following a structured, effective timeline of steps.
3. End with greater satisfaction for all parties and a lesser chance of repeat offenses. 

During the course of the program, Restorative Justice asks these questions:

*  Who was harmed?
*  What is the harm?
*  What needs to be done to repair it?
*  How do we involve everyone?

After successful completion of the program, the Restorative Justice Board may recommend to the court that the offender is allowed to withdraw the plea of guilty and the case is dismissed. 

We extend a special  THANK YOU to these caring and dedicated individuals who donate their time to this program.