House OKs Lee’s Restorative Justice Expansion

(April 18) – The House gave voice-vote approval today to a bill sponsored by Rep. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) to expand and fund the state’s adult and juvenile restorative justice programs.

HB13-1254 establishes four restorative justice pilot projects for juvenile offenders. To pay for the associated administrative costs, the bill establishes a Restorative Justice Fund through a $10 surcharge on all crimes. The program is currently unfunded.

Restorative justice gives crime victims who choose it the chance to meet face-to-face with their offender. By bringing victims, offenders and community members together to talk about an offense, restorative justice attempts to promote individual responsibility and repair the harm done.

Under the bill, DAs may offer restorative justice to appropriate juvenile offenders. If they successfully complete the program, they may avoid having charges filed.

“Keeping juveniles out of the system is a primary goal,” Rep. Lee said.  “Restorative justice dialogues also enable victims to get questions answered, to share their pain and possibly to change their story from anger, resentment and anguish to one of restoration, healing and possibly forgiveness.”

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