Office of Dispute Resolution Receives $1 Million Grant to Reduce Youth Involvement in the Court System

Office of Dispute Resolution Receives $1 Million Grant to Reduce Youth Involvement in the Court System

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Sherwood Foundation has awarded the Administrative Office of the Courts /Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) $1 million to integrate the restorative justice practice of Victim Youth Conferencing (VYC) across the state. The goal of VYC is to reduce youth involvement in the juvenile justice system. In addition to the significantly high percentage (85%) of youth fulfilling reparation plans, the 2015-2017 pilot VYC project demonstrated early remarkable gains in reducing recidivism, in which 4 of 5 youth participating did not recidivate within the year following the VYC.

The grant provides for statewide expansion of VYC over the next three years, 2018-2020, building upon the work done by the ODR-approved mediation centers in three pilot sites in the 3rd, 4th, and 12th judicial districts. The goal is to provide VYC in all twelve (12) judicial districts by the end of 2020.

The grant will pay for a restorative justice program analyst with ODR and a program coordinator for each of the six mediation centers to work to increase the use of restorative justice practice across the centers’ regional judicial districts. The grant supports continued work with ODR’s national Restorative Justice Consultant Dr. Mark Umbreit and his staff with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking. Funding also includes evaluation, training, conferences, data programming, media and publications.

In addition to the ODR and ODR-approved mediation centers, initiative partners include juvenile and county judges, Office of Juvenile Probation, county attorneys’ offices and diversion programs, local probation offices, local schools, the Nebraska Crime Commission, the Nebraska Association of County Officials and other local and regional stakeholders. The goals of the initiative include reducing youth recidivism, reducing disproportionate minority contact, and closing the school-to-prison pipeline.