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City programs honored during excellence awards' 20th anniversary

Nov 23, 2009

from the press release by Cherie Duvall Jones:

The Awards for Municipal Excellence will be celebrating 20 years of success as it honors eight innovative city programs during [the National League of City's] Congress of Cities and Exposition, this week in San Antonio.

“These eight Awards for Municipal Excellence cities have improved the quality of life for their citizens by developing creative solutions to pressing local problems,” said Donald J. Borut, NLC executive director. “I congratulate them for establishing model programs that can serve as positive examples for other cities.”

....Population Category Under 50,000: Estes Park, Colo., “Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership.”

....Estes Park: The “Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership” applies the principles of restorative justice to the criminal justice system to improve victim services, reduce arrests, reduce repeat offending and give community members a more visible role in the justice process. 

from the nomination packet submitted by Estes Park:

The Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership exists to reduce crime and disorder by applying the principles of Restorative Justice. In doing so, the project seeks to improve victim services, reduce arrests, reduce repeat offending, and allow community members to be a more visible role in our justice process. It is a community-based program, designed to repair harms caused by crime and to create a balance of justice equitable to the victim, the offender, and the community.

Nature of the Crime: crime is understood as an offense against human relationships, community safety and well-being, secondarily as an offense against the law or state.

Offender Accountability: holds offender directly accountable to the actual harm done to the direct victims, others in the community, and the community as a whole; promoting responsibility to be taken in a face to face meeting, personalizing the victimization of others.

Repair of Harm: attempts to make all harms “right”, allowing for victims to move past the event by providing voice and recognition.

Balanced Participation: brings together in voluntary and constructive ways the victim, offender, and community for the purpose of reintegration. The criminal justice system holds coercive power for follow through and completion, without being the motivation for success.

Capacity Building: provides opportunity for victims to move toward forgiveness and healing, offenders to develop empathy and ability to make better choices, communities to realize empowerment in solving their own problems; allowing the justice system to play a supportive, humanizing role.

Encouragement of Innovation: less hampered by bureaucracy and legal constraints, it emphasizes new ways of thinking about justice and innovative methods and strategies to solving system problems.

Partnerships for Action: seeks to build mutually beneficial partnerships among stakeholders in the justice process, community safety and well being.

The Community is the Driving Force Behind the Process: those who are closest to the parties are in the best position to establish and monitor the process of justice, community members must be willing to take responsibility for creating a system of justice, which will work for its members.

It is worth looking through the nomination materials for a thorough description of the programme and how it connects with multiple partners.

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