A growing number of probation officers, judges, prosecutors as well as other juvenile professionals are advocating for a juvenile justice system which is greatly based on restorative justice. These groups of people have been frustrated by the policy uncertainty between retribution and treatment as well as unrealistic and unclear public expectations. As a primary mission, the balanced approach or policy allows juvenile justice systems together with its agencies to improve in their capacity of protecting the community and ensuring accountability of the system and the offenders . It enables the youths to become productive and competent citizens. This guiding philosophical framework for this policy is restorative justice as it promotes the maximum involvement of the community, victim, and the offender in the justice process. Restorative justice also presents a viable alternative to sanctions as well as interventions that are based on traditional or retributive treatment assumptions. In the policy proposal for restorative justice, the balanced approach mission assists juvenile justice system in becoming more responsive to the needs of the community, victims, and the offenders . Therefore, this paper considers how restorative justice reduces referrals of juveniles to criminal and juvenile justice systems and gives a proposal on the implementation of restorative justice in the community together with a number of recommendations. For instance, preliminary research reveals that application of restorative justice in schools significantly reduces school expulsions, suspensions, and referrals to the criminal justice systems. Restorative justice programs are an alternative for zero-tolerance policies for juveniles or youths .
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Larry Sherman and Heather Strang, Restorative Justice: The Evidence (London: Smith Institute, 2007)
Sharon Lewis, Improving School Climate: Findings from Schools Implementing Restorative Practices, (Bethlehem, PA: International Institute for Restorative Practices, 2009).
Kim, Catherine Y., Daniel J. Losen, and Damon Hewitt. 2010. The school to prison pipeline: structuring legal reform. New York: New York University Press.
Sherman, Francine T. 2011. Juvenile justice: advancing research, policy, and practice. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Kafka, Judith. 2011. The history of "zero tolerance" in American public schooling. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. http://www.palgraveconnect.com/doifinder/10.1057/9781137001962.
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