How mindfulness and restorative justice are two sides of the same coin.
Neanta Parnell – January 9, 2023
Restorative justice can be highly impactful in communities and populations that need it. Thus, there has been a rise in restorative justice organizations in Philadelphia. ‘Healing Futures’ , “Philadelphia’s first pre-charge, youth-focused restorative justice diversion program[…] [works to] provide a pathway to divert young people and survivors from the juvenile courts to a restorative justice process, so no charges are ever filed. By encouraging constructive, community-based responses to harm, Healing Futures represents a new, transformative approach to youth justice in Philadelphia” (Healing Futures: Philadelphia’s New Restorative Justice Diversion Program, 2021).
‘Good Shepherd Meditation’ with their Juvenile Offenders Diversion Program, “is a restorative-justice-based initiative designed to reduce delinquent behavior among youths. These programs offer […] youth the opportunity to learn constructive ways to manage conflict, control their anger, and make better decisions in their lives. Focusing on skill building and personal reflection, JODP seeks to aid young people to exercise their power to shape their own lives” (Youth Services, n.d.).
Restorative Justice may therefore reduce gun violence and recidivism rates within Philadelphia.
As seen in both ‘Healing Futures’, ‘Good Shepherd’ and other restorative justice related initiatives, recidivism rates drastically decrease:
“Recidivism statistics show that juveniles who go through the juvenile offender adjudication process have a 44.4% chance of being rearrested within three years while youths who attend a JODP workshop have less than a 24% chance of recidivating within the same amount of time. – Good Shepherd
“92% of graduates in our Guild re-entry apprenticeship program are not reincarcerated within one year of program completion” – Mural Arts of Philadelphia Restorative Justice Guild
In a recent study a restorative justice based program, ‘Advance Peace’ (AP) was reviewed in response to its effectiveness to “transform youth at the center of gun violence, including helping them heal from trauma and stop using firearms” (Boggan, 2021).
“AP is the name of the community-based organization that hires, trains, and supports teams of street outreach workers who implement a trauma-informed, healing-focused program that is aimed at preventing urban gun violence and supporting healthy community development” (www.advancepeace.org). AP has developed a specific curriculum, called the Peacemaker Fellowship, to structure its mentorship and life coaching for the small number of the most violent and disconnected individuals in a community. The Peacemaker Fellowship is an intensive, 18-month program that delivers everyday adult support, co-creates a set of goals with each client, or fellow, offers group classes in conflict resolution and other essential life skills, provides intensive social service navigation, and opportunities for travel and internships ” – Advance Pace
Results of the study showed that AP helped proactively reduce gun related conflict with youth and give them access to resources they otherwise would not have. “AP helped prevent between 16 and 41 potential shootings which might have resulted in deaths” (Boggan, 2021) .
By providing tools to help self-regulate and marketable skills or trades, restorative justice has shown to be revolutionary in its effectiveness. As mentioned in part one, Inner Strength Education provides mindfulness techniques and tools to help youth manage conflict, confusing emotions, and personal reflection. It is our hope that teens will be positive influences in their communities and support systems in a way that mimics the results of peacemaking circles, and restorative justice guilds alike.
Boggan, D. (2021, July 5). Urban safety, community healing & gun violence reduction: the advance peace model – Urban Transformations. Urban Transformations. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://urbantransformations.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42854-021-00021-5
Durbin, S. (n.d.). Restorative Justice – Mural Arts Philadelphia Mural Arts Philadelphia. Mural Arts Philadelphia. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://www.muralarts.org/program/restorative-justice/
Healing Futures: Philadelphia’s new restorative justice diversion program. (2021, July 27). Impact Justice. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://impactjustice.org/healing-futures/
Youth Services. (n.d.). CORA Good Shepherd Mediation. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://www.phillymediators.org/services/youth-services/