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Arlington County Board takes a big step toward Restorative Justice model


The Arlington County Board this week adopted recommendations for establishing restorative justice practices in the county's schools, legal system and through community outreach programs, officials said in a statement.

The board accepted recommendations outlined in the Restorative Arlington Strategic Plan which creates a framework to “build a supportive community while creating effective responses to conflict and harm,” the statement reads.

Arlington leaders began looking at such community-based alternatives to criminal justice and conflict resolution in April, officials said.

“Restorative Justice breaks destructive and harmful cycles by addressing the needs of everyone involved instead of adding to the harm and trauma with punishment,” Board Chair Libby Garvey said in the statement. “It values and addresses the needs of people who have been harmed, while ensuring that those responsible for the harm take responsibility for their actions and are accountable.

“It helps all involved to move forward. It improves and enhances the safety of our entire community.”

The plan calls in part to implement training school staff, students and parents in culturally responsive methods; establish a community-based conferencing program and alternative sentencing options for victims and offenders; and analyze and create partnerships for communities in need of restorative justice practices.

In July, county officials launched a review of the policies and practices of its police department, prompted a national police restructuring movement, following the killing of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police.