LA County District Attorney Announces Partnership with Centinela Youth Services for Restorative Justice Diversion
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, aka the District Attorney’s Office, and the community organization Centinela Youth Services (CYS) announced that they are teaming up to provide restorative diversion. This partnership will enable young people to take responsibility for their actions through a process that also takes into account those who have been injured and their needs.
Restorative justice is a unique approach that differs from the current criminal justice system. Restorative justice focuses on victims, offenders and their communities. It aims to hold the young offender accountable for their actions by focusing on redressing harm, rebuilding trust, restoring relationships and reducing long-term recidivism. Restorative justice practices give all parties involved an opportunity to communicate their feelings about the crime while the young caregiver reflects on the impact of their behavior on others.
Centinela Youth Services operates the Everychild Restorative Justice Center, which has provided effective restorative justice services to youth and those affected by juvenile delinquency in partnership with the LA County Juvenile Justice System for over 30 years.
CYS provides restorative justice services that serve young people who have committed a crime and the person or entity harmed by that crime. Through smart solutions, CYS programs have proven to reduce recidivism, increase victim restitution completion, and be a more effective method of ensuring public safety. 86% of young people in CYS who enter into a restitution agreement with the person they harmed, fully comply with this agreement. In return, young people do not have a criminal record, which would otherwise hurt their future employment prospects.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office expands its long-standing partnership with CYS. Through the Restorative Enhanced Diversion for Youth (REDY) program, prosecutors can refer young people facing non-violent offenses to the CYS before the case goes to court. If the youth completes CYS restorative justice services and works things out with the victim of the crime, there will be no conviction (or supported petition) on file. If the youngster fails services, the case can still be taken to court.
Los Angeles County is at the forefront of meaningful justice reform. Recognizing that the tools of our traditional juvenile justice system do not reduce recidivism, the prosecutor’s office is exploring evidence-based alternatives. When the current justice system locks young people into difficult conditions with minimal treatment or services, the results are even more offensive and diminish public safety.
“Our work has been independently researched and proven to contribute to community safety,” said Jessica Ellis, CEO of CYS. “Youth with the same demographics and offenses passing through the CYS compared to the justice system show reduced re-arrest rates of 50-70% and rendition completion rates which are many factors higher,” she added.
Restorative Justice Diversion is about meaningful empowerment and effective behavior change. When these goals are met, a young person will not have a criminal record to follow him for life. And it is important to maintain their progress and their access to a productive member of society.
Restorative justice also results in significant cost savings for criminal justice agencies and taxpayers. For example, the CYS spends around $ 4,600 to serve youth for six months, while the juvenile justice system spends well over $ 200,000 to prosecute / incarcerate for six months.
CYS notes high satisfaction rates on the part of participating victims and referrals who consider the process to be fairer.
CYS aims to create a safe community where balance is restored and to right the wrongs caused by young people and those they have harmed. They are committed to working in a restorative way with the young leaders, their families and the victims.