Using Trauma-Informed Restorative Justice with Youth

Using Trauma-Informed Restorative Justice with Youth

Many jurisdictions have adopted restorative justice programs as a way to divert youth from juvenile justice system involvement. Unlike traditional juvenile justice system responses—such as arrest and incarceration—restorative justice programs are more responsive to youth needs and more effective in preventing future crimes because they help young people take responsibility for their behavior and repair the harm that was caused to victim(s) and the broader community. When implemented in a trauma-informed manner, they also hold young people accountable for their actions while acknowledging the impact of trauma on a young person’s behavior to determine how to best respond to their needs. This brief describes how juvenile justice stakeholders can support restorative justice approaches to minimize youth involvement in the juvenile justice system and potentially address their behavioral health needs while also preserving public safety. Photo by Martyna Bober on Unsplash.

Felicia Lopez Wright | June 2021 | The Council of State Governments Justice Center

Project Credits

Writing: Felicia Lopez Wright, CSG Justice Center

Research: Felicia Lopez Wright, CSG Justice Center

Advising: Sarah Wurzburg, Josh Weber, and Demetrius Thomas, CSG Justice Center

Editing: Darby Baham, Emily Morgan, and Katy Albis, CSG Justice Center

Design: Michael Bierman

Public Affairs: Ruvi Lopez, CSG Justice Center

About the Author


Felicia Lopez Wright
Felicia Lopez Wright
Senior Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health
Felicia Lopez Wright provides behavioral health technical assistance to Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grantees, with a focus on courts, pretrial, and diversion. She also contributes to various behavioral health-criminal justice projects. Felicia, a licensed clinical social worker, has
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experience providing mental health therapy to youth, adults, and families in various settings; she has also provided special education case management and short-term counseling at a community court program. She earned a BA in psychology from The College of New Jersey and an MSW from Rutgers University.
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