Restorative Justice

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is a process to involve those who have a stake in a specific offense, to the extent possible, to collectively identify and address the harms, needs and obligations in order to heal and put things right. (Howard Zehr, 2002)

Guiding Questions of Restorative Justice

  1. Who has been harmed?
  2. What are their needs?
  3. Who has a stake in this situation?
  4. Who is obligated to repair the harm?
  5. How is it appropriate, involving stakeholders, to put things right?

Benefits of Restorative Justice

Since 1997 our programs result in greater victim satisfaction, lower re-offenses, increased rate of restitution paid and community service performed, all at a reasonable cost. Services are funded by Clay County and a Juvenile Court Diversion grant from the Missouri Division of Youth Services.

Restorative Justice in Missouri

Approximately one-third of the juvenile courts in Missouri incorporate some restorative principles into their practices. Restorative programs are very successful in reducing recidivism rates (re-offenses). Victims are much more satisfied participating in a restorative justice process, in part because offenders who engage in a restorative justice program are very likely to honor the restitution arrangements they make with their victims (90 to 95% compliance in Clay County). Victims find the process fair, and appreciate having an opportunity to explain the impact of the crime to the offender.

Contact Information

Clay County Juvenile Office
351 East Kansas Street
Liberty, Missouri 64068

Programs in Clay County

Community Justice Boards

A Community Justice Board offers the community the opportunity to have an active role in discussing the harm caused by crime and finding a just way to repair the harm. When a victim is unable to directly address an offender, the volunteers serving on the Community Justice Board speak on the victim's behalf.

Boards meet with juvenile officers, offenders, and their parents or guardians to discuss what happened, how individual victims and the community were affected by the offense, and to develop a plan to make things right. In most cases victim and offender are restored as members of the community, crime is decreased, and recurring harm is avoided.

To Become a CJB Volunteer

Volunteers complete an application and background check, and receive training on board policy and procedures. Volunteers determine how often they wish to participate. For more information please contact us.

Respect Program: Victim Dialogue with Offenders

Crime victims have rights under Missouri's state constitution, including notification about the status of a case, and information about their options for collecting restitution, including the Missouri Crime Victims Compensation Fund. Respect helps crime victims to get answers to questions they have about the offense and to seek restitution. A juvenile offender who is willing to take responsibility may then be referred for further screening and a possible meeting with the victim to discuss the harm and how to make things right. These sessions are conducted in safe settings monitored by trained mediators. Restitution arrangements are monitored until completed.

C.A.R.E. Community Service and Restitution Endeavor

This program allows juvenile offenders referred by a juvenile officer to earn money through community service that is paid toward the restitution owed to a crime victim. Several area nonprofit thrift stores are partners in C.A.R.E.