Victim-initiated Restorative Practices

Victims may feel left out of the criminal justice process. Victim-initiated restorative practices are an alternative way of thinking about and responding to crime. They emphasize one basic fact: crime damages people, communities and relationships. If crime is about harm, then the justice process should emphasize repairing the harm.

A justice process utilizing restorative practices encourages offenders to assume responsibility for their actions and to take action to repair the harm caused by the crime to the victim and victimized community. Crime victims and the community assist in setting the terms of accountability and monitoring and supporting completion of the offender’s obligation. In the end, the offender is held accountable to the victim, community and state.

Victim-initiated restorative practices may not be helpful for everyone and every situation. Some restorative practices include contact between the victim and offender. The offender may never accept responsibility for his or her actions, may not say what the victim hopes to hear, or may not follow through with his or her obligations. The victim must have complete say over what they want to do.

Victim-initiated restorative practices are alternatives to parts of the criminal justice system, which provides traditional safeguards to hold the offender accountable.

For more information about victim-initiated restorative practices at the Department of Corrections, please contact the Restorative Justice Coordinator, 651.361.7115 or send an email to victimassistance.doc@state.mn.us