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What Makes a Good Case for Restorative Justice?

We have 3 criteria:

  1. The victim/person harmed is willing to have the case come to us instead of pressing charges or letting the offender be summonsed.
  2. The offender/person responsible is admitting the wrongdoing. (They may not understand the full ripple effects of the harm. That’s OK. Such understanding will emerge in the process. See FAQ for more.)
  3. We can be reasonably sure of a safe process. (If there are physical or emotional risks, we may return the case to you).

What’s NOT appropriate for restorative justice?

  1. Cases that do not meet the above criteria are not appropriate referrals.
  2. C4RJ does not accept cases of intimate-partner abuse because of the risk that an abuser might manipulate the process. We have accepted, and will consider, instances of battery by children of parents or sibling harm.
  3. C4RJ does not accept cases involving motor vehicle charges (per RMV requirements).
  4. Generally, the most successful cases are those in which an individual or institution has been affected or harmed. When there’s no aggrieved party (e.g., simple drug possession), restorative justice is less productive. Do consider RJ in instances in which there is harm or feared potential harm to a community or group that might be represented in the circle.

If you’re uncertain whether a referral is appropriate or if you have other questions, call 978.318.3447. We frequently discuss potential referrals by phone with officers and others.

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