Restorative Justice pioneer Howard Zehr visited C4RJ and shared his photography exhibits: "When a Parent is in Prison" and "Ladder Without Rungs," featuring portraits and stories of children of prisoners and victims of severe violence, respectively (right).

What to Expect

Does it Matter What I Want?

Absolutely. We hear from victims a wide range of responses to the crime. Some say, “I can’t wait to give that Responsible Party a piece of my mind!” while others reflect, “It wasn’t a big deal but I’d sure like an apology and restitution.” Whatever it is that you want or need, we want to hear about it. Here’s how the process unfolds:

  1. A police officer may have given you one of our program brochures. Feel free to reach out to us anytime (referrals@c4rj.org) to talk about what happened. If we don’t hear from you first, we’ll be in touch by phone and/or by mail to learn more from you. Again, if you opt out, you won’t hear from us again, and we’ll return the matter to the police.
  2. If you opt in, we will call to schedule an Intake meeting at a time and place of your choosing. There, we’ll ask about what happened, how it’s affected you, what you need or want, and we’ll explain the restorative justice process in more detail. You will have a chance to say whether you want to participate personally, have a representative for you, or if you wish not to meet with the Responsible Party but remain informed.
  3. C4RJ staff will meet separately with the Responsible Party and others affected by the incident.
  4. You will have a chance to choose the time and place of the Opening Circle. (If you have no preferences, this meeting will likely take place at the police station.) This will be the first time you’ll meet with the Responsible Party, others affected, trained C4RJ volunteers, and a police officer. Your family or other supporters are also welcome to attend. It will be safe and respectful, ending with a restorative agreement (letters of apology, restitution, service, etc.) that will aim to directly meet your needs.
  5. Over a few weeks, the Responsible Party will work on the restorative agreement with the support of C4RJ volunteer facilitators.
  6. C4RJ will reconvene the group for a Closing Circle. You’ll have a chance to say whether the restorative agreement satisfied your needs, the Responsible Party will reflect on what he/she has learned. If all is well, we’ll close the matter formally and criminal charges will not go forward against the Responsible Party.

All told, the process takes two to three months and remains completely confidential. Read a case story about how it worked for someone else.