The Boston Globe
For juvenile offenders, a measure of justice that heals
Teens go not to court, but to a program with the victim to sort the problem out
"In Zucker's case, soon after the graffiti incident, the owner of one of the vandalized businesses gave Zucker a job. Zucker said the job, which he kept for five years, was among the most positive influences on his life.
``I have seen what a great effect the program has had, particularly on my own child," Robin Zucker said. ``He saw he was treated with worth and dignity and had to treat other people that way."
Chase said that under the program the offender, the offender's parents, the crime victim, a police officer, a volunteer assisting the offender, a volunteer assisting the victim, a case coordinator, and a meeting moderator all meet to discuss what happened, the harm done, and how the harm can be rectified.
The group sits in a circle. To ensure that each person has a chance to speak without interruption, a round gray stone engraved with the word ``courage" is passed around the circle. Only the person holding the stone can talk.
``The process of going around the circle and speaking about it so openly and honestly and emotionally creates an atmosphere of healing that makes everyone want to do what's right," Chase said."
How refreshing to find a community willing to work to save juveniles on the brink of disaster. To use an old cliche...it takes a village...