Expanding Restorative Justice in Philadelphia’s Youth Justice System

The Challenge

Traditional responses to escalating gun violence often involve separating young people from their support systems and detaining them in facilities that are well-documented sites of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. This punitive model does very little to help young people take accountability for and grow from their mistakes.

The Project

Through this Emerging Leader Fellowship, Hanae Victoria Mason will work with the Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project to expand the scope of the Healing Futures Restorative Justice Diversion Program in Philadelphia’s youth justice system. Through the Healing Futures program, participants undergo a process that includes accepting accountability for the harms they have caused, working to repair those harms and make things right with the impacted individuals and communities, healing from their own traumas, identifying and addressing unmet needs, and changing harmful patterns of behavior.

Specifically, this Fellowship will enable Hanae to:

  • Develop a report on the first two years of the Healing Futures program to highlight its impact on participants, their communities, and the city of Philadelphia. The report will draw upon both quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Promote the report findings widely via a social media campaign, press conference, and targeted meetings with key system partners.
  • Collaborate with the Healing Futures team to advocate for an expansion of the types of cases eligible for pre-charge restorative justice diversion, with a particular focus on gun-related cases.

Hanae Victoria Mason, MPA

Emerging Leader Fellow

2023 – 2025

Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project