The Denver District Attorney’s Office announced on Nov. 30 that the Restorative Denver program will celebrate its second year with a virtual fundraiser on Dec. 7. Funds will help expand Restorative Denver’s capacity to serve more people through a partnership between the Denver District Attorney’s Office and The Conflict Center, according to the Nov. 30 press release.
Two years ago, the Restorative Denver program began accepting clients with the support of Denver County Court judges, prosecutors, victim advocates, public defenders and community members. Restorative Denver is a restorative justice program that allows offenders to take responsibility for their actions but avoid having a criminal record while repairing the harm they caused to victims and to the broader community, according to the Nov. 30 release.
“People often ask me what we are doing to stop crime and I always include Restorative Denver as an example of a program that works,” said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann in the release. “When victims, offenders and the community collectively decide how to repair the harm done, the results are often transformational.”
In 2021, the DA’s Office announced increased funding enabled Restorative Denver to expand its capacity and serve more than three times the number of participants than it did in 2020: 148 total participants and 145 cases for this year thus far. Restorative Denver took on cases involving felony charges such as theft, menacing and burglary in its second year. The DA’s Office announced in the Nov. 30 release that resolving a case through Restorative Denver costs Denver taxpayers 30% less than if the case were to go through the traditional court process. The program’s recidivism rate is currently 1%, according to the DA’s Office.
The DA’s Office on Nov. 30 also released the program’s community highlights including:
- Defendants reported that participating in the program increased their knowledge, empathy for others, and feelings of self-improvement
- Defendant’s understanding of how their offenses harmed the victim, community and their family increased significantly after participating in Restorative Denver
- Victims shared that after participating in Restorative Denver they experienced clarity, resolution and a sense of closure
- Community members stated that after participating in Restorative Denver they experienced a new perspective and knowledge, increased connection to the community, and new appreciation for restorative justice programs and processes.
Of the program’s offender participants, 62% were male and 38% were female. The program served participants who were 44% white, 30% Latino or Hispanic, 21% African American, 3% Asian and 2% other. Participants ranged in age from 13 to 82.
More information on the Restorative Denver program can be found here.