Participatory justice is a community-based approach to conflict resolution that uses methods such as mediation and education, to promote healing and accountability. It attempts to serve as an alternative to the traditional court system that can often prove problematic for individuals and communities.
Common Justice, run by Stoneleigh Fellow Danielle Sered, is one such program that works with young adults in Brooklyn, New York that have been perpetrated or been otherwise affected by violent crime. Here is an excerpt from the program description on the Stoneleigh website:
Involvement in Common Justice begins just after indictment, and cases are diverted as early as possible to minimize court contact and the unnecessary use of resources. Harmed parties go through a preparatory process in which they:
- gain an understanding of the program’s process and its relation to the court process;
- identify the emotional, physical, mental, and other consequences of their experience;
- situate that experience in context of their own histories, families, and communities, as well as those of the responsible parties;
- develop tools to communicate their experience in an empowering and safe manner;
- foster a readiness to listen actively to the responsible party and a comfort in setting their own limits;
- begin to think through potential sanctions that would serve a restorative, rather than merely punitive, function; and
- make contact with therapeutic or other services to initiate their own recovery.
Responsible parties go through a similar orientation, which will include many of the above facets as well as:
- identifying their accountability and motivations for their action;
- fostering a readiness to honor the harmed party’s needs;
- identifying an initial and realistic set of appropriate sanctions to which they would be willing and able to commit; and
- participating in interventions to begin to address the harmful behavior.
To read more about Common Justice, click here.