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Voluntary participation in restorative practices

Jul 10, 2012

From the Restorative Justice Facilitator Code of Conduct and Standards of Training and Practice adopted by the Colorado Restorative Justice Council, April 2012:

A restorative justice facilitator shall conduct a restorative justice practice based on the principle of voluntary participation for all participants. Voluntary participation means that the participants in the restorative justice process have come to the meeting by choice. 

Whether the face-to-face meeting is requested by the victim, the offender or the referring agency, each participant must at some point make the choice to come of their own free will. 

If the offender is incarcerated or otherwise involved in the justice system, he/she must still have the choice to participate in the restorative justice process or not participate. 

If the offender is sentenced to participate in a restorative justice conference, the restorative justice facilitator shall insist that the offender be assessed to determine if he/she is appropriate for a face-to-face meeting with the victim. If the facilitator determines the offender is appropriate, and the victim wants the conference, the facilitator may proceed. If the facilitator determines that the offender is not appropriate, but the victim wants a conference, the facilitator should explore other options (see below). 

Prior to making a choice, each participant must receive a full explanation of what the restorative justice process is and what their role will be. 

Participants may choose to withdraw from the process at any time.

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