Restorative Justice Circles Program

The Community Restorative Circle is a community based, Court operated diversion program designed to provide an alternative response from the juvenile justice system for first-time, misdemeanor offenders.  They adhere to the restorative justice theory which is based on the premise of accountability to the victim and the community. Community Restorative Circles (CRC) now act as an arm of the Court bringing together the juvenile offender and his/her parent(s)/guardian(s), the victim (when applicable), and members of the community.  The CRC addresses the needs of the youth, the victim and the community by developing a holistic understanding of the youth offender and the circumstances that led to the offense.  The Circle participants discuss the offense, ask questions, and make decisions as to how the offender should take responsibility for his or her actions. These decisions are prepared in the form of a comprehensive, collaborative plan of action that is signed by all parties involved. Juvenile Court staff then monitor the youth’s progress. The information and knowledge gained from this Restorative Justice experience assists the youthful offender to be better equipped to make improved life choices, change negative behaviors and leads to the enhancement of public safety. Successful completion of this diversion process can result in the youth not having a formal court record.

Who can participate in a Restorative Justice Circle?
·         Youth referred by a Juvenile Court Magistrate or by the Juvenile Intake/Diversion Department.
·         Youth charged with misdemeanor offenses, who are first-time offenders.
·         Youth between the ages of 11 and 17 at the time of the offense.
·         Youth who acknowledge/admit their involvement in the offense.
·         Youth who have parental or guardian consent.

Are There Specific Rules for the Restorative Justice Circles?
·         No cell phones, MP3 players or IPods
·         No mini-skirts or shorts
·         No T-shirts with writing on them
·         No tobacco products

What Sentencing Outcomes are Available with the Restorative Justice Circles?

A Sentence (called: Plan of Action in the Circles) may involve any combination of the following:
·         An apology to a victim or parent.
·         Community service hours.
·         A research paper regarding the law that was broken.
·         An essay on a topic determined by the Circle
·         Other elements included in a Plan of Action may take up to 90 days to complete.

Who are the Participants?
Restorative Justice Circles are comprised of trained community volunteers who understand the issues facing at risk youth in Franklin County and have successfully submitted to a criminal history check, child abuse/neglect screening and personal interview. The program coordinator oversees the process.

What about Parent Involvement?
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) must accompany the youth for the following:
·         The youth’s initial appearance with the Hearing Officer or meeting with the Diversion Counselor prior to the referral to the Restorative Justice Circle.
·         The initial and Follow-Up Community Restorative Circle meetings.

Who is the Program Coordinator and Director?
Rachelle Randolph, Restorative Justice Program Coordinator

Julie O’Reilly Troth, Deputy Director of Juvenile Programs and Services

Where is the Program Located?
Community Restorative Circles are held weekly in neighborhoods and communities around Franklin County.
Franklin County Juvenile Court
Youth Education & Intervention Services
399 South Front Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Hours of Operation:
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday
11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, & Thursday

click here to see informational brochure on becoming a Restorative Justice Circle Volunteer.

 Photos of Restorative Justice Circle Volunteer Training