The Community Conferencing Program (CCP) was created in Spring 2008. This program combines restorative justice concepts with the existing Court Diversion Program. Restorative justice holds that crime is a fundamental violation against people and that a primary response to crime should be repairing the harm caused by crime. At the same time, restorative justice gives those responsible for crime the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions.
What is the Community Conferencing Program?
Community Conferencing is one model to carry out restorative justice ideals. Community Conferences involve a victim, an offender, a panel of community members and a trained facilitator. The facilitator guides participants through a discussion about how the offense occurred, what harm was caused and how the harm caused can be repaired. It is important to note that each offender is only given the opportunity to participate in this program after receiving the victim’s approval.
Each Community Conference will culminate in a Conference Agreement. Conference Agreements will be mutually acceptable to community members, victims and offenders. The Agreements will describe how offenders will repair the harm caused and serve as the conditions for offenders’ deferred prosecution agreements.
Goals of the Community Conferencing Program
In addition to the goals of the Court Diversion Program, the Community Conferencing Program has the following goals:
- Promote an active participation in the justice system.
- Give victims the opportunity to meet with offenders in a safe environment on a voluntary basis.
- Have offenders learn about the impacts of their crimes and accept responsibility for their actions.
- Reduce costly reliance on the traditional criminal justice system.