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Friday, May 24, 2024

Yolo County Restorative Justice Partnership hosts training workshop to teach new ways of resolving criminal cases

The program is seeking volunteers for its workshops


By MADELEINE YOUNG city@theaggie.org


On Oct. 3, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office posted a press release that shared they were seeking volunteers for a Restorative Justice Partnership training taking place Oct. 21. This workshop-style training provided volunteers a deeper understanding of restorative justice and how to apply skills involved in the Restorative Justice Program conference process.

The Restorative Justice Partnership, formerly known as Neighborhood Court, has been operating since June 2013 as an innovative restorative justice diversion program intended to resolve offenses outside of the traditional courtroom.

“Program outcomes are designed to address the underlying issues affecting participants while prioritizing their acceptance of responsibility and reparation of harms to the community and any direct victims affected,” the press release said. “These conferences function best by involving a diverse group of volunteers who represent their local communities. Agreements created through this process are designed to educate and address underlying issues affecting participants, while also emphasizing acceptance of responsibility by encouraging actions that focus on reparation of harms to the community and any direct victim affected, as well as self-reflection.”

Nicole Kirkaldy, director of Yolo County’s Restorative Justice and Diversion programs, explained the program’s training workshop. 

“Trainees will hear presentations and participate in interactive exercises led by the Yolo Conflict Resolution Center, Global Empathy Training Academy and RJP Staff and Volunteers,” Kirkaldy said. “They will be guided through practical application of the skills involved in the RJP conference process. The purpose of this training is to prepare people who are passionate about their community to apply the principles of restorative justice in RJP conferences to resolve criminal cases.”

Volunteers will receive training on the basic principles of restorative justice as well as the conference process. These conferences are staffed by local volunteers who facilitate and hear criminal cases and apply restorative justice principles to develop agreements with offenders. 

“Our hope is that by holding these trainings, we can continue to strengthen our team of dedicated local volunteers,” Kirkaldy said. “By equipping people representative of the diverse Yolo community to participate as panelists and facilitators for RJP, we will continue to see growth, positive outcomes and healing in the way we address crime locally.”


Written by: Madeleine Youngcity@theaggie.org