A Diversion Toolkit for Communities provides step-by-step guidance, worksheets, and checklists on how to build a pre-charge restorative justice diversion program that reduces youth criminalization while meeting the needs of survivors. We created this resource in response to the stream of requests from people (maybe you!) across the United States who are eager to launch their own restorative justice diversion programs. Our toolkit mirrors the first phase of technical assistance we currently provide to community-based organizations in California, Tennessee, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
Our approach explicitly focuses on ending racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile legal system and orienting around survivors. With Black youth in the US incarcerated at five times the rate of white youth, Latinx youth almost twice as likely, and Native American youth three times as likely, the process outlined in the toolkit calls for addressing harm in a way that intentionally interrupts the policies and procedures that create these disparities. Further, by a 3 to 1 margin, survivors prefer holding people accountable through options that don’t involve prison. This toolkit seeks to expand restorative justice’s availability as one of those options.
Questions addressed in the toolkit include:
- What are restorative justice and restorative justice diversion?
- How can RJD meet criminalized youth and survivor needs?
- Is this work the right fit for your organization?
- How can organizations build community support for RJD?
- What do organizations need to know about working with legal system partners?
- What kinds of cases are best for RJD?
- How can organizations fund their RJD work?