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Juvenile offenders must meet with victims under new detention discipline program

Oct 16, 2012

from the article by Matt Long on South Carolina Radion Network:

The South Carolina agency that handles minor offenders under age 18 is changing how it punishes teens for any wrongdoing they commit once they are in jail.

The state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has begun a process where the youth will meet with their victims and negotiate their punishment. The agency’s Director of Restorative Justice Andy Broughton says the agency is trying to move away from simply locking up offenders in isolation.

“So, what happens now when they violate a rule inside the institution… they’re going to meet with the officer or whoever they offended and they’re going to have to propose some sanctions… or things they’ll do to make up for it,” Broughton told South Carolina Radio Network, “It’s going to hold them much more accountable for their actions.”

....The idea is to have a young offender meet with the “victim,” whether it is a DJJ guard or staffer or another teen. The offender will then promise to come up with a punishment and the victim will have the option of accepting or refusing that punishment.

For example, a teen who assaults a staff member would normally be required to spend time in isolation. Under the BARJ system, an offending teen would meet in a conference with their victim. After that conference, the teen would consult with a counselor and come up with possible “sanctions” (which could include extra work duties, earlier bedtime, an apology letter, etc.). The assaulted staffer would then say “yes” or “no” to the proposed punishment. If no, the offender would have to come up with a new punishment.

The same would be true if the victim were another juvenile, Broughton said.

Read the whole article.

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