The Arlington County Board today accepted the Restorative Arlington Strategic Plan, which provides a framework for the County to adopt restorative justice practices in our public schools, legal system, and community settings. Arlington expects to receive a $75,000 grant award from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to help implement the plan.
The Restorative Arlington initiative is a Countywide, cross-sector effort to bring the benefits of restorative justice practices to Arlington. Restorative practices help build a supportive community while creating effective responses to conflict and harm. Restorative justice is an alternative to punitive discipline. At its center is community building and repairing not only the harm done, but also relationships.
“I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to develop this Restorative Action framework,” Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “We now have a way to strengthen our community and to practice Restorative Justice in our schools and our justice system. Restorative Justice breaks destructive and harmful cycles by addressing the needs of everyone involved instead of adding to the harm and trauma with punishment. It values and addresses the needs of people who have been harmed, while ensuring that those responsible for the harm take responsibility for their actions and are accountable. It helps all involved to move forward. It improves and enhances the safety of our entire community.”
George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution has been a key partner in Restorative Arlington, along with members of the working groups who explored how to adopt restorative justice practices in Arlington and contributed to the strategic plan.
The Restorative Arlington initiative has informed and educated hundreds of community members about restorative justice practices, and has built community and connection among people from all parts of the County through online restorative circles.
The strategic plan lays out the vision and principles that will guide the Restorative Arlington initiative and provides a basic framework for implementation going forward.