The Center for Restorative Justice is a community-based organization which serves to repair harm by restoring balance and equity between people who are seperated by conflict.
Our Mission is to promote awareness of and to facilitate Restorative Justice in South Dakota through education and partnerships in Restorative Justice processes.
The Center for Restorative Justice is a non-profit, volunteer organization established in 1997. The Center’s primary purpose is to arrange and conduct Restorative Justice Conferencing between victims of crime and the offenders. CFRJ also promotes peacemaking through community and group Circles to schools, organizations and Tribal entities. Trained volunteers work to help people heal relationships damaged by crime or harmful actions. Restorative justice allows people to speak directly with each other in a safe and respectful environment, to discuss the impact of a crime or dispute on their lives, to better understand events leading to or resulting from harmful acts, and to work out mutually agreeable resolutions.
In contrast to passive roles of the citizen/victim in the court system, restorative justice involves cooperation of offender, victim, families, community, and the court. Thus, restorative justice shifts the way we think about and respond to crime by emphasizing a fundamental fact: crime damages people, communities, and relationships. An offender becomes responsible to the victim and members of the community. Victims and offenders work together to hold the offender accountable, develop constructive competencies and habits, and make efforts to improve the community and its safety.
Case: The mother of a youth killed in a car accident wanted to meet the driver who had been convicted for manslaughter. The mediator met with the mother and explored her needs and expectations, and developed a plan for the RJ conference session. Mediators then met the young man and his minister at the prison and prepared him for the session. The resulting Conference was described by one of the Mediators as “the single most profound experience of my career.”
The Judicial Court, Rapid City Police Department, law enforcement agencies, and other criminal justice professionals have given the Center for Restorative Justice strong support for their services and programs.
Victim Impact Panel classes are held every other month. The classes feature Victim’s of crime speaking about the impact of crime in their lives and those sent to the class from the Courts to hear about the impact of crime in the lives of people and the community.
Beginning in March,2010 CFRJ began Juvenile Victim Impact classes held in the Peacemaking Circle style. Those who have participated in this class offered these reflections: “This restorative justice meeting brought two very good friends together” and what was learned was “that what other people do affects others alot.” “I think that it was a good way to solve problems and voice opinions.” “I got to look at similar stories in a different view.” The most important thing learned is that I need to, “work on trust”.
Restorative Peace making Circles
Restorative justice practices are effective when people are involved in conflict and crime to bring people together to address harm that has occurred within a family, an organization, church, neighborhood, school, or community. There are important questions to be considered as cases are brought forward for restorative justice practices. What was the offense or harm done.? Who caused the harm? Who has been harmed and what can be done to repair the harm?
With its roots in Native American culture, the Circle process involves the offending person, the victim and any support people the parties would like included. The dialogue focuses on the offense, the harm people have experienced and what actions should be taken to repair the harm to the greatest extent possible.
Like other restorative processes, Circles place as high a priority on deep listening as outward participation. A “talking piece” is used in the Circle to speak uninterrupted or to pass the talking piece on to the next person, creating a safe, non-judgmental place.
The Center for Restorative Justice is available to give presentations of varying length to community groups and organizations. The Center also provides training in restorative justice practices and the training sessions can range from half a day to three days in length.
Call or fax (605) 605 348-3665 to request information and make arrangements for a presentation or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Membership application (PDF)