CNCR Launches Database of U.S. Restorative Justice Legislation
Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (CNCR) at Georgia State University College of Law has introduced a downloadable database detailing state-by-state use of restorative justice in the criminal justice system.
“The new database will help those looking to draft new legislation or start new programs,” said Carolyn Lambert, CNCR’s project director. “The project is a real group effort. There is no database this comprehensive to date.”
“With the broad push for criminal justice reform in Georgia and other states, this database is an invaluable resource for proponents of restorative justice,” said Doug Yarn, professor of law and executive director of the consortium.
Among the trends revealed by the database: Zero tolerance policies in schools are beginning to shift to focusing on conflict management, Lambert said.
“It’s an interesting trend and refreshing,” she said.
After a crime is committed, restorative justice seeks to repair the harm by involving those affected by the offense and then collaboratively identifying and addressing the harms, needs and obligations to right the wrong, Lambert said.
Restorative justice often involves bringing victims and offenders together to reach a conclusion. It may be used as a diversion tool, an immediate sanction or post-sentencing within the court context or through a community-based organization.
When exploring the new resource, users will be able to find information by state, including links to the full text of each statute and brief description of the restorative justice content.
In addition, users can find the status of legislation since adoption, content in areas including community conferencing, family group decision-making, restorative justice and victim-offender processes, plus a range of references. The database also will be regularly updated with additions, repeals and other changes to existing legislation.
“For more than 25 years, CNCR has been bridging law, theory and practice in dispute resolution,” Yarn said. “During that time, court-connected alternative dispute resolution processes in the civil justice system have become well institutionalized and understood.
“The use of restorative justice-based processes in criminal matters presents a less understood frontier for dispute resolution,” Yarn said. “This database reveals much about the current status.”
To learn more or to download the Microsoft Excel file, visit: http://ow.ly/HL2AF.