Humans of Restorative Justice stories are written and edited by David Levine inspired by real-world practitioners. Today’s story is from an interview with Alyssa of Baltimore, M.D.
The first person that entered the room at the recreation center was a woman in her early twenties, with clear dark skin, long wavy black hair, wearing a bright green scarf. I introduced myself as the appointed mediator. In Baltimore city, when there is a State’s Attorney referred case such as this where charges have been pressed, the parties involved can either proceed to criminal court or they can take the matter into their own hands by choosing to engage in a mediation facilitated by someone from an approved non-profit organization such as ours. We made small talk while waiting for the other women who entered a few minutes later. This woman was older, in her forties, with a short grey hairstyle and a larger build than the younger girl who was now sitting across the conference table under the fluorescent lights of the rec center. We all got settled and began. The goal was to help these two women to communicate and allow them a space to resolve their issue so that we might avoid a criminal case and everything that goes with that.
The protocol requires that I first read a script outlying the process. This includes reviewing the tenants of the mediation and reminding them that this is a voluntary process of their choice. Second, it is made clear that all discussions will remain confidential, except for the cases that I am required to report as a mandated reporter. And finally, I assure them that as mediator I will remain neutral, that I am not there to pass judgement or take sides. After we had agreed and understood the terms we began…
(Humans of Restorative Justice stories are written and edited by David Levine based on interviews with real-world practitioners.)
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