Grant would expand Yellow Medicine County’s restorative justice program
Jul 15, 2011
Yellow Medicine County began planning the program 10 years ago, and has seen a 91 percent reduction in out-of-home placement expenses from 2001-2010. Out-of-home placements include foster care and incarceration in juvenile detention facilities.
"Restorative justice is a philosophy that views harm and crime as violations of people and relationships," Marthaler said. "It creates obligations rather than guilt."
Yellow Medicine County Assistant County Attorney Amanda Seiling said the program has seen exponential growth since 2002, with the establishment of new sentencing circles, peacemaking circles for neglect and abuse cases, and circle of hope for people leaving chemical dependency.
"Typically the circle sentencing process begins with a referral made at court, and it has to be a unanimous referral," Seiling said. "Myself, probation, Julie as the circle coordinator, the youth, and the public defender's office. If any of those parties at any time don't agree with the referral, it can't go through."
Participants can opt out at any time, Seiling said, and return the offender to traditional probation.