New Pilot Program Includes Mediation and Restorative Justice

A new pilot program from Child & Family Services’ Center for Resolution and Justice is getting attention in criminal justice circles. It offers mediation and restorative justice practices. It is part of Erie County Family Court’s strategy as New York raises the age of criminal responsibility. 

Under the Raise the Age legislation that goes into effect in October, most 16 and 17 year olds will no longer be prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. It is expected to significantly increase the caseload in Family Court. To meet the demand, Erie County’s plan includes the Center for Resolution and Justice’s new program. 

CRJ’s Julie Loesch and Erie County Family Court Judge Brenda Freedman presented about the plan at the NYS Unified Court System’s Office of ADR’s Community Dispute Resolution Centers Directors Meeting in Albany.  They addressed representatives from the 21 Community Dispute Resolution Centers as well as statewide leaders from DCJS, Probation and OCFS.