Juvenile Offenders in West Virginia Might Soon Have Access to Mediation
Monday, December, 14, 2015
West Virginia’s juvenile criminal justice system might soon get a new resource to help them sort through issues with offenders. Mediation could soon be used to help offenders and victims work through their issues, and resolve whatever issues caused the juvenile offender to face charges. This potential initiative was recently announced by DHHR as the Juvenile Victim Offender Mediation Program.
The goal of the program is to support the healing process between offenders and victims. Like other types of mediation, it is a voluntary process, but is still raising a great deal of concern in the community and the West Virginia juvenile justice system.
The DHHR describes the program as a safe environment for victims to speak to the offenders. They want to encourage change and understanding within the community and help offenders understand the impact of their negative actions. The program is part of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s Juvenile Justice Reform initiatives and is intended to heal the damage caused by crime in a productive manner.
Many people in the community agreed that the plan could be good if it is done in the right way. However, others believe that it is like letting the offenders off the hook and focusing more on feelings than on disciplining a juvenile for breaking the law. There are also concerns the offenders will not take the program seriously and a mediation session could result in more damage to the victim. Others aren’t sure of what to think, but they understand that something is needed to be done to improve the criminal justice system for juveniles.