Cook County Restorative Justice Program
ACCOUNTABILITY, RESTITUTION, REPARATION
Restorative Justice is an approach that includes both justice and
reconciliation for harms created through crime or relational conflict.
Victims, offenders, and community members meet to harness their
mutual humanity in pursuit of accountability and shared agreement
Restorative Justice is not simply about making an apology; it is about understanding the motivations of the offender and the effects on the victim. Participation requires strength and courage from both parties to learn about the other and set themselves on a path to move forward in a more positive way.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
The Cook County Restorative Justice program (CCMNRJ) is driven by a group of community volunteers trained to help victims and offenders find solutions that promote accountability, healing, and reconciliation. We work in partnership with the Cook County Attorney’s Office, Courts and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Trained facilitators guide a process that involves separate meetings with both offenders and victims (and/or their representatives). The process proceeds to a joint meeting that culminates with a formal agreement between the parties. This agreement specifies tangible actions to be accomplished within a defined timeframe. Participation is voluntary and confidential. Case conferences take place at:
Cook County Higher Education - Lower Side Door
300 W 3rd St
Grand Marais, MN 55604
- Victims have a voice in the process and express higher satisfaction with outcomes
- Offenders have higher rates of completing community service and restitution, and lower rates of recidivism
- Early interventions can set a young person’s life on a more constructive path
- Restorative Justice diversions can be an alternative to court sentencing, saving money for the county
- Community volunteerism and interagency collaboration increases community investment and strengthens services
Cook County MN Restorative Justice is overseen by a volunteer Advisory Committee which includes representation from: Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Board of Commissioners, the County Attorney's Office, Probations, Grand Portage Tribal Council, Grand Portage Health & Human Services, Cook County ISD 166 Schools, the Violence Prevention Center, participant and facilitator advocates and an administration team including the North Shore Health Care Foundation’s Executive Director Valerie Marasco Eliasen.
The NSHCF adopted the program in January of 2020 to ensure its sustainability to serve this community until it can grow into its own independent nonprofit.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED IN RESTORATIVE JUSTICE?
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- Get trained as a volunteer conference facilitator
- Serve as a surrogate victim with your own story to tell
- Be a community member or support person in meetings with youth
- Provide or supervise community service opportunities
- Donate financially or through in-kind donations
For more information or questions about the Restorative Justice Program, contact:
Inger Andress - CCMNRJ Chairperson
Valerie Marasco Eliasen, Executive Director
North Shore Health Care Foundation
218-387-9076 or 218-387-5700