The LA County DA’s announcement provides details of the new partnership with CYS to expand use of restorative justice for non-violent felonies. To read The Los Angeles Daily News coverage of the new programs, with extensive remarks from CYS Executive Director Jessica Ellis, please click here.
CYS provides restorative justice services that serve both youth who’ve committed a crime and the person or entity harmed by that crime. The benefits are increased public safety and improved outcomes for crime victims. Youth with the same demographics and offenses going through CYS vs going through the justice system show rearrest rates cut by 50-70% and restitution completion rates that are many factors higher. 86% of CYS youth who enter into a restitution agreement with the person they harmed, fulfill that agreement in full. While victims cannot attend the juvenile court process, through restorative justice, we can give impacted persons a chance to be a meaningful part of the process to determine appropriate restitution and resolution. Rather than having to miss work for a predetermined court date, this process can be scheduled at their convenience and is resolved more quickly than court timelines.
When our current system locks young people up in harsh conditions with minimal treatment, recidivism increases. “Seeing the inside of a courtroom” and detention may feel like justice, but the outcomes show these traditional tools of our justice system are not leading to more public safety. Community-based solutions rooted in restorative justice and psychological science, and that merge meaningful accountability and rehabilitation, have shown to be much more effective at reducing further crime. To read about a recent CYS restorative justice session with a serious felony offense, click here.