Saline County Kansas Offers Mediation Services for Juvenile Offenders
For low-level juvenile offenders and crime victims, Saline County Kansas is instituting mediation services for juvenile misdemeanor cases. It is at this point a voluntary option that both the plaintiff and defendant have to agree upon. The details have not been solidified yet, but there are several clues about the nature of the “restorative justice” program.
Known Applicable Cases for Civil Mediation
At this time, property crimes such as vandalism, some cases of assault and battery, and various school issues are at the top of the priority list. First time substance abuse cases may also fall under this category. It is unclear as yet if misdemeanor cases such as misdemeanor-level arson, shoplifting and theft, trespassing, and disorderly conduct will be included in the mediation process.
Mediation Attorney and County Attorney Describe the Reasoning behind “Restorative Justice”
The “Restorative Justice” program has been in development by a committee for about a year, and is expected to have a six-month pilot-run starting in August of 2012. Ann Zimmerman, a local attorney, says that similar programs have been implemented with some success in other nearby areas. Zimmerman, along with the Saline County Attorney, Ellen Mitchell, are in charge of defining this program and work on guidelines.
The idea behind this program is to allow the victim of the crime to “say their piece” and take a more active role in the result of the case. They may also gain a better understanding of why the perpetrator committed the crime to begin with. It is also suggested that punishing the offender is not always the way to correct the injury caused by a crime. Further, they believe that if a juvenile is given quick feedback, they are more likely to learn the error of their ways.