Colorado Children’s Code Authorizes Restorative Justice Conferences for Adjudicated Youth

This article is from a publication of the Restorative Practices eForum, a free email information service from the International Institute for Restorative Practices.

“On March 31, 2008, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed into law House Bill 08-1117, which authorizes the use of restorative justice (RJ) in the state’s Children’s Code and gives Colorado the legislative edge among states that sanction the use of RJ. The bill passed 63-1 in the House and 33-0 in the Senate.

Upon signing the bill, Governor Ritter said, “By making juvenile offenders take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, we can teach them that the decisions they make, both good and bad, will affect the course of their life. Repairing the harm that someone has caused can be the thing that matters most in the criminal justice system.” Added Ritter, “As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen too many people start out committing minor crimes as juveniles and escalate to committing serious crimes as adults. We must do everything we can to intervene early and break this cycle.”

The law, sponsored by State Representative Michael Merrifield in the House and by State Senator John Morse in the Senate, gives judges the authority to offer accused young offenders the legal option to voluntarily participate in RJ processes. The law encodes a well-defined definition of restorative justice and practices:

“ ‘Restorative Justice’ means those practices that emphasize repairing the harm to the victim and the community caused by criminal acts. Restorative justice practices may include victim-offender conferences attended voluntarily by the victim, a victim advocate, the offender, community members, and supporters of the victim or the offender that provide an opportunity for the offender to accept responsibility for the harm caused to those affected by the crime and to participate in setting consequences to repair the harm. Consequences recommended by the participants may include, but need not be limited to, apologies, community service, restoration, and counseling. The selected consequences are incorporated into an agreement that sets time limits for completion of the consequences and is signed by all participants.” Continue reading here.

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2 responses to “Colorado Children’s Code Authorizes Restorative Justice Conferences for Adjudicated Youth

  1. Hi,

    This article is a publication of the Restorative Practices eForum, a free email information service (I am its editor) from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. The eForum contains links to hopeful, useful news about meaningful change in education, criminal justice, family and social services and the workplace, and is sent to a worldwide network of people who are interested in restorative practices.

    IIRP does not share the eForum database with anyone, so members receive no spam.

    To sign up, go to: http://www.iirp.org/join_eforum.php

    Laura Mirsky
    Communications Coordinator
    International Institute for Restorative Practices

  2. Laura,

    I’ve edited the source of the article into the beginning of the post to clarify. I appreciate the additional information on how readers can subscribe to your newsletter.

    Thank you so much for commenting,

    Lisa

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