Second Judical District
201 W, Colfax Ave, Dept. 801
Denver, CO 80202
September 12, 2019 Contact: Carolyn Tyler, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-913-9025
DENVER—The Denver District Attorney today announced the launch of an innovative restorative justice program for adults aptly titled, Restorative Denver. The goal of Restorative Denver is to address crime and harm caused through a lens of increased public safety and healing by providing an alternative way to process cases. Restorative justice is proven to result in greater victim satisfaction, reduced recidivism and cost savings. The program is being initially funded by a $20,000 micro-grant from the Colorado Restorative Justice Council and has the early support of many Denver County Court judges, prosecutors, victim advocates, public defenders and community members.
“Restorative justice programs nationally and in Colorado are showing excellent results by helping defendants take responsibility for their behavior and then reintegrate back into society through positive behavior changes,” said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann. “Based on the success of our restorative justice program for juveniles, I am confident that Restorative Denver will have the same tangible benefits for adult participants. Restorative Denver simply makes sense.”
The Denver District Attorney’s Office is partnering with The Conflict Center, a community-based nonprofit organization that has been involved in conflict transformation and restorative practices programming for over 30 years. The District Attorney’s Office will refer eligible cases to The Conflict Center whose trained facilitators will conduct face-to-face meetings between the defendant and the victim to resolve the harm caused by crime. Members of the community will also take part in these community group conferences to represent how the community was affected by the crime and how the harm can be repaired. At the end of the conference, the parties will develop a written agreement of how the defendant can repair the harm done to the victim and the community and The Conflict Center will monitor compliance. Restorative Denver is a completely voluntary program for both victims and defendants and the process will be confidential.
“We are proud to be a core part of the Restorative Denver program as it aligns with our mission of providing practical skills to embrace and navigate everyday conflict through relationship building,” said Beth Yohe, Executive Director. “This program allows victims to be heard and supported and to have their needs addressed while facilitating a deeper understanding of the impact of the offender’s conduct and creating an opportunity for the offender to truly take responsibility and repair harm.”
Initially, the program will accept misdemeanor cases filed in County Court, though the hope is to expand to felony District Court cases once success has been shown. From the time a case is referred to Restorative Denver, the goal is to complete the program within three to six months. The Denver District Attorney’s Office will track participants who successfully complete the program to determine how successful the program is at reducing recidivism and promoting enduring behavior change.