Former Stoneleigh Fellow Danielle Sered spoke to Yes! Magazine about Common Justice and the positive impact its restorative justice program has on public safety and victim satisfaction.
Over the past few years, statistics on how the U.S. justice system is failing its citizens have come fast and hard. With more than 2 million people detained in jails and prisons, we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world—a rate that’s increased 500% in the past five decades Possibly as many as 482,000 people currently held in local jails are there simply because they’re too poor to pay bail; they haven’t been convicted of a crime.[…]
The New York City-based organization Common Justice is successfully using restorative justice for felonies—shootings, stabbings, gunpoint robberies—that would otherwise be tried in court. Instead of going before a judge and jury in a courtroom, cases are diverted to a process developed by Common Justice. “We’ve had powerful outcomes,” says Danielle Sered, Common Justice’s executive director. But serious crimes require a serious response; a restorative justice process in response to an attempted murder, for instance, might entail the guilty party spending more than a year closely participating in the organization’s violence reduction program while simultaneously performing public service as restitution to the person they harmed.