Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019

Six boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice

By Molly Rowan Leach · January 13, 2014

This article was orginally posted at OpenDemocracy.net and then reposted as a feature in December 2013 at Daily Good.

It’s a warm summer night in Longmont, Colorado, a vibrant midsized city in the Rocky Mountains.  On a dare, six young men aged between ten and thirteen years plan to break into a giant chemical processing plant. High levels of alcohol and testosterone, peer pressure and a moonless night propel the group towards the locked gates of the factory, and they break in.

Across town at the Police Department, Officer Greg Ruprecht is about to embark on night patrol.  A former Army Captain and top of his class at the Police Academy, Ruprecht believes his job is to arrest everyone who commits a crime and throw away the key. Justice means punishment: an eye for an eye, no questions asked. You do something bad and you get what you deserve. There’s a clear line to walk. But what occurred at the chemical plant that night changed him forever by awakening a very different sensibility: instead of an instrument of vengeance, justice requires that we work to restore all those who have been injured by a crime.  READ FULL ARTICLE

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