ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A new program rolling out in Washtenaw County is helping give crime victims input into what would normally be punishment handed down by a judge.
The most common Restorative Justice program in the nation is run of New York City.
“What they found is, when given the option, 90% of crime survivors choose Restorative Justice over the traditional legal system,” said Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit.
Savit is introducing that program to the Ann Arbor area.
“What we announced today is a robust restorative justice program. What this means is that we are giving survivors of crime that don’t impact public safety imminently, we’re giving them a choice,” Savit said.
It’s a choice he said gives victims of crime options on what kind of justice they want.
“This is a survivor driven-program that survivors can choose to enter. The reason we’re doing this is we’ve seen over and over again that often times, the criminal legal system doesn’t give survivors what they want,” Savit said. “A crime survivor is more likely to get restitution and be made whole than they are in the traditional legal system, and they’re likely to report greater degrees of satisfaction with the outcome.”
Savit continued, “Sometimes, that’s going to be, pay me back, the money that I lost. Sometimes, you can think of a situation, where there are two family members that have been involved in a criminal case. Imagine an aunt and her nephew, the nephew stole her car, took it for a joy ride, crashed it, she may not want that nephew going bankrupt, paying restitution, but she may say, okay you’re going to do community service.”
To read the Prosecutor’s Office full restorative justice policy directive, click here.