Restorative Justice In Action in Minneapolis. What Is It and How Does It Work?

When someone commits a nonviolent crime, they are often assigned a court date and assessed a fine. Typically, offenders simply pay the fine and continue on with their lives. There is no reconciliation, and the offender may repeat the act multiple times without learning their lesson.8213432552_fd1a8cc461_z

As a community, Minneapolis has implemented a restorative justice program to put an end to this criminal cycle and bring peace to the communities affected by these crimes.

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative justice is an alternative to the traditional justice system. Instead of an emphasis on punishment, restorative justice emphasizes reconciliation. Offenders must face the community affected by their crime and figure out a way to make it right.

How Does Restorative Justice Work?

Individuals who have committed nonviolent crimes have an option to choose restorative justice instead of the traditional justice system. Volunteers in the community will then meet with the offender to determine how they can reconcile their actions. They can decide a number of ways to make up for their offense, including:

  • A written or verbal apology
  • A monetary donation
  • Community service hours
  • Personal development classes

Is Restorative Justice an Effective Technique?  

Restorative justice is designed to bring the offender face to face with members of the community affected by their crime. When the offender has to directly confront community members, they are forced to acknowledge their wrongdoings and make peace.

Community members and victims of these nonviolent crimes get closure and peace of mind during this healing process. Helping offenders change and become better citizens of the community is what this process is all about.

To learn more about restorative justice in Minneapolis, visit the Restorative Justice Community Action website.  Or if you’re guilty of a non-violent crime, and you’d like to see if restorative justice is an option for you, please contact our attorneys at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss for assistance.

Image courtesy of/ Chris Potter

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