Restorative justice program looking for more tasks

A restorative justice program is asking the City of Humboldt if there’s any jobs that can be done by those criminals that are repaying their debt to society through them.

Through alternative measures, a criminal is required to apologize face-to-face to those they’ve harmed with their crimes – or their representative – and then do community service hours as a way to make up for what they’ve done, instead of going through the jail and probation system.

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It’s only available for certain crimes and the victim has to agree before the criminal can go through it.

“It’s really good for those one-off crimes that have special circumstances and where the offender is unlikely to reoffend,” said Brenda Shrader, one of the administrators of the local program. “It gives them the chance to apologize, take responsibility for what they’ve done and to make reparation for their crime they committed, either to the victim or the community.” 

Yet those going through the program in Humboldt have only one task available to them: helping the SPCA. That’s they they made a presentation at the Sept. 24 council meeting.

“We’ve come to the meeting tonight hoping that the City of Humboldt has suggestions and ideas of community service that we could offer here in Humboldt,” Shrader said.

Coun. Sandy Weyland asked if there would be supervision. Shrader said the program doesn’t provide any supervisors. It does check to make sure the task that’s assigned is done properly.

Rosalie VenderBuhs, another administrator of the program, said the key is to come up with an agreement that details what job somebody is doing, when they have to show up and how many hours are worked.

“Every single agreement that you would draw up has to have their t’s crossed and i’s dotted,” she said.

Rob Muench, Humboldt’s mayor, said there’s plenty of jobs around that the city’s regular staff isn’t finding enough time to get to that could be done.

 “We’ll get together with staff, we’ll find some suggestions and get back to you on that,” he said. “I’m sure we won’t have a hard time finding things.”

Shrader said the program has been receiving more case files to manage.

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