Healing Futures Promotes Restorative Justice over Jail Time for Philadelphia Youth


Healing Futures
Image via Healing Futures.

An innovative new program in Philadelphia is helping keep youth out of jail by promoting restorative justice, writes Zoe Rosenberg for Business Insider.

Healing Futures, launched at the Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project, is the city’s first pre-charge program for youth restorative-justice diversion. It is primarily about owning accountability.

Over several weeks, the youths meet with program leaders to discuss their needs and what accountability is. They also draft an apology to the person they hurt.

Then, they take part in the restorative community conference, where the harmed person explains how the events affected them. After the youth read their apology, the room, including family and community members, determines how they are going to repay for the harm they caused, usually by volunteering.

The program launched in 2021, and since then, 33 youths have completed it.

It was found that restorative-justice diversion leads to a lower rate of recidivism and is also less expensive than imprisonment.

“As much money as we spend to incarcerate a young person, the investment in their lives can take us further as a city,” said councilmember Kendra Brooks.

Read more about how Healing Futures is helping to keep Philadelphia youth out of jail by promoting restorative justice at Business Insider.


The neuroscience of restorative justice.

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