Our Restorative Justice (OurRJ) aims to reduce criminalization and avert mass incarceration by empowering youth to develop as valued, productive, and responsible members of their communities. Our programs permit young people to continue their education and, more importantly, avoid a criminal record that cannot be expunged in Massachusetts.
Expulsion from school can ultimately lead to criminal behavior in the streets, facing a judge and serving time behind bars. This common pathway is frequently referred to as the "school-to-prison pipeline". Disruption of education - coupled with a permanent criminal record - has dire consequences for future employment and life options for young people, especially disenfranchised youth and youth of color.
OurRJ provides solutions and closure for victims, young offenders and their community rather than putting the focus on punishment and exclusion. Through sustainable, restorative justice practices, participants achieve healing and conflict resolution. Earlier pilot programs have demonstrated that this is an efficient, cost-effective alternative to criminal punishment for juvenile offenses.
With your donation, OurRJ will launch a Family Council Model (FCM) that delivers increased opportunities for healing and growth so communities continue to create a restorative justice community where youth can continue to flourish outside of the OurRJ program. By keeping young people in school, we can ensure they avoid a life of criminal justice involvement and remain on the path to finishing their education and eventually entering the workforce.