“With monthly SCCA meetings we have been able to address many concerns and interests of the local businesses in a timely way.”
SCCA Member: Suzanne Weinstein, Coastal Seafoods

Catching Up With the Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership

The Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership (SLRJP) brings a grassroots approach to solving issues of juvenile wrongdoings in the local community. By working with the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin Co. Attorney’s office, the method of “diversion” is utilized, which allows youths to participate in a mediation process instead of going to court. SLRJP facilitates a discussion between the juvenile, their parents and members of the community, including those who were directly harmed by the youth’s actions. In this discussion, the group reaches an agreement on how the youth will repair the situation, possibly including community service, an apology letter, financial restitution or commitments to after school activities.

Program Manager, Michele Braley, feels that there needs to be a change in perspective about the wrongdoings of today’s youth. Learning from their mistakes is one of the main ways children mature, Michele says. She asks, “As a community how do we respond when a juvenile makes a mistake?” By having the parties work together, the juvenile is allowed to personally atone for their mistakes and the community helps the youth make the situation right, while avoiding a court hearing. As a result, strong relationships are built in the community.

This past year, twenty nine restorative conferences were completed. The youths involved contributed over 200 hours of service and returned $900 to those harmed. In the upcoming year, SLRJP has several objectives they would like to accomplish. Michele would like to continue to expand their partnership with the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin Co. Attorney’s office in order to direct even more youth to their program. They have a goal to hold 24 conferences this year.

Michele would like to personally thank the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods for their support. SLRJP has been able to survive cuts in government funding through donations, gifts, and benefits. It is because businesses are so passionate about building community and helping others that organizations like SLRJP are able to continue.

Program Director Michele Braley