Restorative Justice Programs
Victim ~ Offender Conferencing
What is Victim Offender Meditation?
Victim Offender Mediation (VOM) is one of the clearest expressions of that restorative justice is.
Victim Offender Conferencing is a process which provides interested victims of crime the opportunity to meet the offender in a safe and structured setting, with the goal of holding the offender directly accountable for their behavior while providing important assistance and compensation to the victim.
With the assistance of a trained facilitator, the victim is able to let the offender know how the crime affected them, to receive answers to the questions they may have, and to be directly involved in developing a restitution plan for the offender to be accountable for the losses they incurred. The offender is able to take direct responsibility for their behavior, to learn the full impact of what they did, and to develop a plan for making amends to the person they violated.
Adapted from Fact Sheet: Victim Offender Mediation by Dr. Mark S. Umbreit, the University of Minnesota.
What we have learned from research…
- Victims of crime who meet with their offender are far more likely to be satisfied with the justice system response than are similar victims who go through the normal court process without Victim Offender Conference opportunities.
- After meeting the offender, victims are significantly less fearful of being re-victimized.
- Offenders who meet their victim(s) are far more likely to successfully complete their restitution obligations and to be directly accountable to the victim for their behavior.
- Considerably fewer and less serious crimes are committed by offenders who meet their victim(s).
Victim Offender Conferencing…
…Provides the victim of a crime the opportunity to meet the offender in a safe and structured setting.
…Holds the offender directly accountable for their behavior.
…Allows the offender to take direct responsibility for their behavior.
Who can I contact If I am interested in becoming a facilitator for Victim Offender Conferencing?
Contact a staff member of Restorative Justice of Northwest Wisconsin, Inc.
Click here to download the Referral to Program form.
Victim Impact Panel Program
Since Covid, the process has changed. Please download this form for information.
Victim Impact Panels (VIP) consist of victims, survivors and offenders who are willing to share their stories. The speakers speak to a group of OWI offenders the impact drinking and driving has had on their lives.
- Helps offenders understand the impact of their crimes on victims and communities.
- Provides victims with a structured, positive outlet to share their personal experiences and to educate the offender, justice professionals and community about the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of their crime.
- The panel does not blame or judge offenders in the audience but attempts to affect the them on an emotional level.
- Listening to personal accounts of drunk driving tragedies help offenders realize the dangers and consequences of their behavior.
Benefits for the Offender
Attending a Victim Impact Panel:
- allows offenders, perhaps for the first time, to consider the pain and suffering impaired driving can cause other people
- helps offenders move beyond being “stuck” in focusing on their own “bad luck”
- serves as a first step in breaking the denial of alcoholics or those addicted to other drugs
- imprints images of real people in offenders’ minds that will replay when drinking and driving is considered at some future point
- changes behavior and saves lives
Benefits for the Victim
- Victims may find that telling their stories lightens their personal pain, which promotes their own healing process.
- They can experience something positive from a previously devastating event.
- They may believe that by telling their stories, they may prevent some other family from suffering a similar victimization.
Frequently asked questions…
United Way St. Croix Valley supported
Community Service Program
Community service is sanctioned work performed by an offender for the benefit of the community. The emphasis of community service is not on punishment or rehabilitation but strives to place the accountability on the offender. Restitution repairs the hard to the individual, community service repairs the hart to the entire community. Community service can be alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders. It can also be used to reduce the burden of overcrowding in the jail while saving tax payer dollars. The community service program serves the Burnett County Circuit Court and the Department of Health and Human Services.
To be considered as a worksite you must meet one of the following criteria . . .
Individual with disabilities
Restorative Justice provides worksites, monitors the workers, and tracks the hours worked for those who participate. The program promotes volunteerism, while the participant works to repair the harm they have caused to the victim and the community.
Benefits of Community Service
The services preformed provide a significant benefit to governmental and non-profit organizations.
Reduces jail overcrowding and out of county placement, thus reducing the cost to the county tax payers.
Gives the offender the opportunity to repair the harm they have caused.
Increases offender’s work and social skills to become more employable.
Offers the offender an opportunity to build connection with community members.
Youth Community Service
Restorative Justice will also place students who are in of community service hours for graduation requirements. These students are never placed at the same location where incarcerated participants are working.
Alcohol and Other Drugs of Abuse Program (AODA)
What is the “Abuse or Addiction journaling" program?
Journaling is an innovative, interactive curriculum created to reduce high-risk behaviors. It is an approach to youth education designed to provide facts, tools and support for those dealing with alcohol and other drug related violations. Individuals learn personal responsibility and practice making positive, long lasting behavior changes.
Promotes changes in attitudes and behavior. Encourages the sharing of honest feelings, opinions, and experiences.
A Journaling Curriculum Presented in a Circle
The program is structured to be interactive and takes place in a circle meeting style. Small group discussions center around specific pages of the Choice Curriculum with participants sharing their responses with other peers and receiving feedback. Community members are also in the circle offering their life experiences. A key recovery speaker from the community share the story of their own high risk behaviors and how it has affected their life.
The basic premises of the program are . . .
• People can change their behavior if they have the motivation and the tools.
• Participants are responsible for the choices they make. This program can help participants to make informed decisions.
Interactive group process help to facilitate change
The program objectives:
• Participants examine the connection between situations and the ability to choose how they will respond.
• Participants learn the law and penalties that relate to alcohol and other drugs.
• Participants explore high risk situations associated with drugs and alcohol.
• Participants consider how alcohol and/or other drug use has affected their behavior, health, school/work performance and relationships.
• Participants develop a plan to avoid future problems with alcohol and other drugs.
About Operation Safe Exchange
Child exchanges can be a tense time for families. Children deserve to see both parents and have a conflict free safe exchange. OSE can make these exchanges tension and stress free. It offers a safe and neutral location for the exchange. The exchange is conducted by a trained staff member or volunteer. Times and dates are prearranged (often through court order). The exchange is conducted at the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office. The children, their belongings and any required information is given to each parent though the facilitator.
There is a $5 fee per exchange. This is the responsibility of each parent and is to be paid at the time of the exchange.