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Dear Editor:

Recently, I was invited to bring my therapy dog Abby to a Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ) mediation session.

One purpose of FCRJ is to bring parties together who are involved in some type of a dispute and mediate a resolution that addresses the issues and repairs the harm done.

Since nerves are on edge and stress levels are high, the presence of a therapy dog can bring a calming, nonjudgmental presence to the proceedings.

The session I attended involved a crime committed by a young offender. FCRJ enabled the victims of this crime and the offender to sit together and work out a resolution satisfactory to all parties.

The transformation on both sides from fear and anger to the honest realization of the impact the offender’s choices had on the victims and the community was made through heartfelt communication and the support from everyone there.

A written contract was made with recommendation agreed upon by al present. With continued support from the victim, FCRJ and the family, this young offender will be kept out of the court system.

I truly am grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this meeting and hope to be involved in many more. I encourage everyone to learn more and support FCRJ.

It is my hope that the court system will continue to refer young offenders to Full Circle Restorative Justice. It has proven to be an extremely effective approach for the healing of both parties involved and has been shown to greatly reduce repeat offenses.

As for Abby, she played her role beautifully as only a therapy dog can.

Ruth Phillips

Because justice does not always mean punishment

PO Box 699
County Courthouse Third Floor
Salida, CO 81201
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