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Restorative justice in use at Hudson Youth Dept.

Feb 26, 2021 5:45 am

Aliya Schneider is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the staff at the Hudson Youth Department is receiving restorative justice training in an effort to facilitate conflict resolution and to help others in the city to do the same. The training has been in development since 2020, and the program has been growing, outgoing city Youth Director Nick Zachos said. The staff is being trained by the Newburgh-based Restorative Center. Restorative justice is a method of addressing social disconnect. The youth department has conducted at least six “restorative circles” over the past six month, Zachos said. In both situations, participants were satisfied with the result without police or court involvement. “I think that’s the heart of it,” he said. “Being able to work out issues outside the typical systems, which, while they serve a purpose, they’re not right for every situation.” A restorative circle is a facilitated discussion with people who are involved with a specific incident, people who can support them and people who may have been affected, Zachos said. Circles are facilitated by someone who has been trained in restorative practices. The youth center has turned to restorative circles to address conflict between youth, staff or both. The process allows everyone to be heard and a solution to be reached instead of imposing disciplinary action. The youth department wants to become a resource for the larger Hudson community and is currently in conversations with the court system, social services, police department and school district. The goal is for youth staff to train others. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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