Community Conferencing allows crime and conflict to serve as a stepping stone to building community. Whether Community Conferencing is being utilized by the juvenile justice system, schools, courts, or neighborhoods, the result is the same: People in conflict come to understand each other better and find ways to repair the harm and move forward in a better way.
The impact is significant. Residents are empowered to resolve their own conflicts, victims have a voice in deciding outcomes, and citizens are directly engaged in public safety issues and are mobilized to find ways to build their communities based on relationship and accountability.
- Community Conferencing can help resolve things in as few as two weeks.
- Community Conferencing brings everyone together immediately after an incident, avoiding the sometimes lengthy wait for official action from courts or other institutions.
High Compliance / Accountability
- Everyone affected by the conflict decides how to resolve things, therefore compliance with sanctions is extremely high.
- 95% of the Community Conferences in Baltimore have resulted in a written agreement created by all participants, with over 95% compliance with those agreements.
- A recent Maryland juvenile justice study showed that young offenders who participate in a Community Conference are 60% less likely to re-offend.
Reduces over-representation of people of color
- Over 97% of the young offenders diverted from the juvenile justice system have been minorities, thereby providing youth of color with the same alternatives available to many Caucasian young offenders.
Improves School Culture
- Students are held directly accountable for their harmful behavior.
- Parents are included in deciding outcomes.
- Administrators report that for the first time, previously ongoing and intractable fights among students are “quashed” through the use of Community Conferencing
- The Daily Rap violence prevention tool developed by the Community Conferencing Center has been taught to over 1500 Baltimore City School Teachers.
Teachers using the Daily Rap report:
- Better classroom behavior
- Improved ability to handle disruptive behaviors
- Stronger positive relationships between students
- Far better communication and problem-solving among students
- Crime and conflict becomes a stepping stone to building a sense of community.
- Over 18,000 Baltimore residents successfully resolved their own crimes and conflicts through Community Conferencing.
- Those harmed are included in deciding outcomes, and report feeling that “justice was served.”