BARJ: Balanced & Restorative Justice

The Juvenile Justice System is based on Balanced and Restorative Justice, otherwise known as BARJ, which uses a Restorative Justice philosophy through a Balanced Approach. BARJ requires juvenile justice professionals to devote attention to:

  • Enabling offenders to make amends to their victims and community.
  • Increasing offender competencies.
  • Protecting the public through processes in which individual victims, the community, and offenders are all active participants.

The Balanced Approach is based on understanding crime as an act against the victim and the community. The mission focuses on three components:

  • Accountability: When an individual commits an offense, the offender is obligated to individual victims and the community.
  • Competency Development: Offenders who enter the juvenile justice system should be more capable when they leave than when they entered.
  • Community Safety: Juvenile justice is responsible for protecting the public from juveniles in the system.

The primary goal of Restorative Justice is restoration, or repairing the harm and rebuilding relationships in the community. Restorative Justice principles include:

  • Crime is injury.
  • Crime hurts individual victims, communities, and juvenile offenders and creates an obligation to make things right.
  • All parties should be a part of the response to the crime, including the victim (if they wish), the community, and the juvenile offender.
  • The victim’s perspective is central to deciding how to repair the harm caused by the crime.
  • Accountability for the juvenile offender means accepting responsibility and acting to repair the harm done.
  • The community is responsible for the well-being of all its members, including both victim and offender.
  • All human beings have dignity and worth.
  • Results are measured by how much repair was done rather than how much punishment was inflicted.
  • Crime control cannot be achieved without the active involvement of the community.