Reparative Probation is a sentence from the court in which offenders meet with a panel of volunteers to discuss the impact of their crime and ways in which they can make fair and reasonable amends. Only those offenders who take responsibility for their crime qualify for the program.
A Reparative Panel is a group of 4 to 6 trained citizen volunteers who meet with an offender, and victims when possible, over a period of 90 days. During this period, the panel works with the offender and victims to develop and oversee the completion of the reparative process.
The panel works with offenders and their victims by exploring the following:
- Who has been harmed?
- What are their needs?
- What needs to happen in order to repair the harm or begin to make things right?
- What does the offender need to learn in order to avoid re-offending?
Together the offender and the panel form contracts that have him/her addressing the above questions, and working towards repairing the harm.
Victims are contacted by the BCJC and are invited to be a part of the process either through direct participation or by some other means that meets the victim’s needs. They are invited to the process to ask questions, let the offender know how they were affected, and to help develop the contracts for reparations. Victims may choose to:
- Attend a panel meeting and engage in the process.
- Write down what they want to be communicated to the offender at the meeting
- Meet with board members only
- Not participate at all
Reparative Panels meet monthly here at the Justice Center :
First Monday of the month from 12:00-2:00
First Monday of the month from 6:30 – 8:30
First Tuesday of the month from 12:00-2:00
First Wednesday, Thursday of the month from 6:30-8:30
Third Tuesday of the month from 5:30-7:30
Third Wednesday of the month from 5:30 – 7:30
Steps of the Reparative Process
Board Establishes Common Ground
- Everyone introduces themselves including the victim, offender, and guests
- Overview of reparative process
- Ground Rules are presented
- Offender goals are presented
- To learn about the impact of the crime on victims and community
- Make a plan to avoid reoffending
All Understand the Impact of the Harm
- Victim shares the impact of the offense
- Offender is asked to restate how the victim was impacted
- Victim acknowledges that offender understands how s/he was impacted
- Board asks offender to state harm to the community and victim (if not present)
- Board member states how the community has been impacted
Offender Accepts Responsibility
- Panel asks offender about what though/feelings s/he had at the time
- Offender identifies and takes responsibility for his/her part in the incident
- Offender acknowledges without excuses that what s/he did was wrong
- Offender apologizes to the victim
All Collectively Develop a Plan to Address the Harm
- Victim states what s/he needs from offender to make amends
- Offender responds to victims’ expectations
- Offender states how s/he might make amends to the community
- Panel states what it needs from the offender to restore harm to the community
- Panel asks the offender how s/he would handle this situation in the future
- All explore ways for the offender to avoid reoffending
- All craft a feasible agreement that accomplishes the reparative goals
- Agreement is signed by offender, panelist, and victim is given the option to sign