Initiating Restorative Practices in a District Attorney's Office

Gary N. Keveles, University of Wisconsin Superior

The role of prosecutors is pivotal in how criminal cases proceed. Experiencing conflicting pressures and goals from a variety of constitutencies, prosecutors tend to innovative carefully in responding to criminal cases. Political fallout is always on the horizon for these public officials. Restorative justice represents an approach to crime that is quite different from the traditional way of doing business. Its principles and practices are seen as both "woft" and "hard" on crime, resulting in public confusion and suspicion. This paper reports on the application of restorative practices in a relatively small jurisdiction which has both urban and rural characteristics. The research addresses the challenges, obstacles and rewards of crafting a restorative initiative centered in a district attorney's office. Examined are issues of organization, personal, funding as well as the role of the community and other agencies in instituting, supporting and sustaining restorative prosecutions

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Updated 05/20/2006