LANSING, Mich., March 25, 2022 — Yesterday, State Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) introduced a bill, House Bill 5987, to create the Restorative Justice Practices Enabling Act and allow crime victims and their offenders effective ways to communicate and focus on responsibility and healing. The bill would provide structure and definitions for the use of restorative justice practices in Michigan’s criminal justice system.

Restorative justice is a victim-driven approach to criminal justice that involves mediated facilitation between a victim of a crime and the offender. Victims, with the assistance of a specially trained facilitator, can help prepare a repair plan with the offender, which could include an apology, reparation, restitution, community service or counseling. With the victim’s approval, the repair plan can then be considered by decision makers, such as judges and probation/parole officers, to determine the consequences for offenders.

“When we talk about justice, very rarely do we allow victims the latitude to determine what that looks like for themselves. This bill gives victims the agency to make that decision,” said LaGrand, a former prosecutor. “For many victims, this means pursuing some form of restorative justice. We need to ensure that no matter what they choose, victims feel safe and supported throughout the entire sentencing process. That means making restorative justice practices as streamlined and structured as possible to achieve the best results for both parties.”

The bill now heads to the House Judiciary Committee.