Legislative News

NACRJ Law and Policy Working Group - Update

The NACRJ Law and Policy Working Group is recruiting a team of legislators and advocates to participate in a national conference call to discuss strategic issues and moving forward with legislative advisement and advocacy. Contact Dr. Sandra Pavelka at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in participating in this important dialogue.

NACRJ is also showcasing good examples of Restorative Justice Legislation in three key areas: Juvenile Justice, Adult/Criminal Justice, and Educational Settings/Schools.[i]

Juvenile Justice

Colorado Children’s Code CRS 19-2-102

The general assembly hereby finds that the intent of this article is to protect, restore, and improve the public safety by creating a system of juvenile justice that will appropriately sanction juveniles who violate the law and, in certain cases, will also provide the opportunity to bring together affected victims, the community, and juvenile offenders for restorative purposes.  The general assembly further finds that, while holding paramount the public safety, the juvenile justice system shall take into consideration the best interests of the juvenile, the victim, and the community in providing appropriate treatment to reduce the rate of recidivism in the juvenile justice system and to assist the juvenile in becoming a productive member of society.[ii]

Adult/Criminal Justice

Montana Code 2-15-2013

"Restorative justice” means criminal justice practices that elevate the role of crime victims and community members in the criminal justice process, hold offenders directly accountable to the people and communities they have harmed, restore emotional and material losses, and provide a range of opportunities for victim, offender, and community dialogue, negotiation, and problem-solving to bring about a greater sense of justice, repair harm, provide restitution, reduce incarceration and recidivism rates, and increase public safety.

Educational Settings/Schools

2020 Bill Text NJ A.B. 1350

Restorative justice practices in the public schools. The bill defines “restorative justice" as a system of dispute resolution tools that allows all parties of a dispute to be involved in defining the harm and devising remedies while giving the necessary attention to community safety, victims' needs, and the need for offender accountability. The pilot program will address school discipline issues through the implementation of restorative justice practices. The goals of the pilot program are to:

* reduce racial disparities in school discipline;

* improve the socioemotional and behavioral responses of students through the use of more appropriate, and less punitive, interventions; and

* reduce recidivism rates among students who violate the school district code of conduct.


[i] It is important to note, however, that the interpretation of the language and extent to which statutes and codes incorporate restorative justice and/or the balanced approach differs across jurisdictions.

[ii] The state of Colorado has been on a progressive path to implement systematic reform integrating restorative justice in policies and practices. The legislature has comprehensively incorporated restorative justice in its Children’s Code through its legislative intent and in its Victim’s Rights Act. In addition, ideological principles and practices are further developed and expanded relating to youth, schools, adults, prisons (Pavelka, 2016).