Grafton County Juvenile
Restorative Justice Program
Grafton County Juvenile Restorative Justice
3801 Dartmouth College Highway, North Haverhill, NH 03774
GRAFTON COUNTY JUVENILE RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
The Grafton County Attorney’s Office is proud to announce the expansion of an alternative sentencing program: Juvenile Restorative Justice, which focuses on Grafton County youth that have committed minor offenses. Program coordinators work with youth to make amends for the harm they caused to the victim, community, family and themselves by diverting first-time offenders from the traditional juvenile justice system. The program helps hold youth accountable while addressing at risk behavior with the goal of preventing future involvement with the criminal justice system.
The Restorative Justice approach has been found to be highly beneficial to offenders, victims, families and community members alike. Common risk factors contributing to delinquency have been identified as substance abuse and mental health issues, poorly developed social and decision making skills, and complicated family issues. Restorative Justice programming seeks to address these factors by not only holding juveniles accountable for their behavior, but also identifying and treating individual needs. For example, Restorative Justice programming focuses on educating youth on the effects of drug and alcohol use, mentoring youth to create positive connections within the community, and identifying and developing positive connections within the school setting. Additionally, Restorative Justice offers support to have a positive transition into adulthood by connecting youth to local resources they may need.
Grafton County Juvenile Restorative Justice is available throughout the county. Other programs in Grafton County include; Valley Court Diversion in WRJ, VT and CADY, Inc. in Plymouth, NH
The Restorative Justice Process within Grafton County works by way of a Restorative Panel Process in which different community members volunteer to serve on a panel and oversee case referrals from start to finish. Program volunteers boast renewed satisfaction with the administration of justice and the overall safety and wellbeing of their community.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE FACTS
- Grafton County Juvenile Restorative Justice is accredited through the New Hampshire Juvenile Diversion Network
- Restorative Justice Programming diverts first-time offenders from the traditional court process—while at the same time holding offenders responsible for their actions
- Restorative Justice Programming seeks to address high-risk behavior to prevent future contact with the juvenile and the criminal justice system by:
- Addressing alcohol and drug use by minors
- Creating connections within the community, at school, and at home
- Building individual self-confidence
- Providing the services necessary to have an easy transition into adulthood
- The majority of youth participants are from unstable home environments and are lacking positive adult and youth connections in their lives
- The Restorative Justice Program is largely effective at reducing costs (immediate and long term)
- Restorative Justice results in significant initial and long-term cost savings. Studies have shown that Restorative Justice Programming saves a considerable amount of money up-front, in terms of processing costs (between $1,500-$3,500 for Restorative Justice costs as compared to $12,000-$13,500 for Traditional Court Processing) and overtime by preventing prolonged criminal activity.
- According to a juvenile court prosecutor it takes 2-4 times the amount of energy to process juvenile cases through the court system then it does adult cases.
- Additionally, should a Juvenile be ordered to a residential detention facility, placement costs total: $138,300 per youth per year ($378/day) and $42,900 per youth per year for non-residential treatment ($165.00/day). NOTE: Residential placement costs in New Hampshire are much higher than the National Average, which is $241.00 per day.
- Because Restorative Justice Programming is largely successful at reducing recidivism rates, additional costs associated with prolonged criminality (Court time and incarceration) are saved.
- Early and individualized action is key to prevent future contact with the juvenile justice system
- When a juvenile successfully completes the terms of their Restorative Justice Contract their criminal record is expunged giving them a fresh start in life.
- Restorative Justice Programs improve victim satisfaction and community satisfaction
Restorative Justice Programs are more effective at collecting restitution than the traditional court process