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Turner, Pou Restorative and Transformative Justice Pilot Program Advances

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley Turner and Nellie Pou, which would create the two-year “Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youth and Communities Pilot Program” in the Juvenile Justice Commission, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Restorative justice and transformative justice programs have been nationally recognized as the best practices in keeping young people out of the criminal justice system and successfully reintegrating them into their communities after being released from out-of-home placements,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “This program would aim to develop innovative restorative and transformative justice continuums of care in Camden, Newark, Paterson and Trenton that offer both individual support services and spaces to foster systemic change. It is crucial we are doing everything in our power to redirect these young adults onto the right path to avoid further involvement in the criminal justice system.”

Under the bill, S-2924, the program would focus on reducing youth involvement with the juvenile justice system. The bill would appropriate $8.4 million in FY2021 and FY2022.

“Our youth justice system devastated our children before the pandemic and is devastating them more now. What we did, by passing this bill in Committee, is a tremendous step forward toward reinventing the way we treat our youth and giving them a second — and first — chance,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “I have worked hard, alongside my colleagues in the legislature, to improve the conditions within our youth facilities but the true path toward change is in our communities, where restorative justice and other programs like the ones covered in this legislation will keep our kids out of the system in the first place and give them an opportunity to be cared for and thrive. I look forward to passing this through the whole Legislature and watching the Governor sign it into law.”