The Alternative to Incarceration
2020 Candidate for Harris County District Attorney
Carvana Cloud, 2020 candidate for office of the Harris County District Attorney, is committed to pursuing a community-based approach to mitigate the damages caused by crime. For more info or to help, contact our campaign today.
Promoting Restorative Justice Solutions
A Top Issue for 2020 Candidate for Harris County District Attorney Carvana Cloud.
Restorative justice is a community-based approach to responding to the harm caused by crime. Designed to be an alternative to incarceration, restorative justice programs allow individuals impacted by crime to face the people who caused them harm, that so often are left out of that process in criminal cases.
Research shows that crime victims often feel that traditional prosecution and sentencing doesn’t serve them best; restorative justice alternatives can help address victims’ concerns and allows victims a safe space to convey raw emotions about what happened. Additionally, the accused has to state what happened, admit to it, and agree to take the necessary steps to repair the harm he/she caused.
This approach allows both parties to work toward accountability, repair and rehabilitation. It also allows all parties to state their needs and to participate in deciding punishment.
Traditional punishment focuses on blame and does things “to” and “for” people. The lack of collaborative participation by all parties makes it more difficult to teach those who cause harm about the negative impact their actions had on others.
Restorative justice works “with” people to solve problems and improve decision-making skills that will ultimately result in less conflict and a safer, healthier community. Participation in any restorative justice program requires the informed consent of the crime victim and the person who caused the harm.
Harris County should establish more restorative justice programs, especially for low-risk offenses, committed by juveniles or by people who suffer from substance abuse or who are exploited in the sex trade. From the earliest point in the process (and as close to when the crime occurred as possible), and with the consent of the crime victim, the District Attorney’s Office should refer appropriate cases to restorative justice programs before arraignment. This will reduce the number of criminal cases processed by the District Attorney’s Office, allowing prosecutors to focus their attention on serious violent crimes, which improves public safety.