The collaborative model promotes efficiency by reducing the use of court resources in the traditional judicial
process and reducing the likelihood of future juvenile
justice involvement. Case-specific issues are addressed
early and successfully, saving time for County agency
staff and promoting further positive outcomes for participants. The program is partially funded by a Fairfax
County Consolidated Community Funding Pool grant
that supports the multi-agency collaboration from a
human services lens.
Although restorative justice programming in Fairfax
County has been in place since 2008, AAP itself is relatively
new. Drawing heavily on its well-established, school-based restorative justice program and a later emerging
juvenile court-based pilot, AAP planning began in 2013 and
its launch occurred in September 2014.
The program has thus far produced impressive results:
increased interagency cooperation and collaboration,
positive service outcomes, low recidivism rates, and
high levels of satisfaction by youth participants, parents,
affected community members and stakeholders. As
shown by this brief summary, early AAP results are significant and very promising:
• Participation is robust and yields productive
outcomes: of the 176 juveniles referred to AAP,
140 completed the AAP process and reached
• Participation has been successful with a wide
range of offenses: disorderly conduct, assault,
theft, trespassing, vandalism, and other misdemeanor and minor felony crimes.
• The number of students arrested in the participating school system dropped by 10% in
• As noted on the accompanying chart, the
recidivism rate for juveniles participating in AAP
has been only 8%
• Greater interagency collaboration including
increasing communication between Police Officers and School Administrators about crimes
in schools, reducing incidents of unintended
double punishment in court and school discipline systems.
• Positive community stakeholder outcomes
reported by those participating in the program
and organizations receiving community service
as part of AAP agreements.
• High levels of satisfaction by youth participants, parents, affected community members
and other stakeholder.
• To date, the AAP has served youth of diverse
backgrounds, including a high proportion of
One AAP conference participant said the most helpful part of the process was “kids having to address
the issues and take ownership for action.” Youth learn
much from the AAP experience; one recent participant
wrote on his evaluation that “I got to say my feelings and
I learned about new ways I can get out of [a] problem.”
Those working with juvenile offenders agree on the
program’s positive results. One probation officer commented "The Fairfax County Alternative Accountability
Program (AAP) has allowed for low level offenders an
opportunity to avoid formal court intervention without jeopardizing public safety. These juveniles are held
accountable for their behavior as well as repairing the
harm that was done to their victims. The police department can use AAP so that youth in Fairfax County are
given an opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Lastly,
it has empowered the victims to have a voice in the harm
that was done to them."
Fairfax County can expect to reap increasingly positive results ever more efficiently, as the AAP continues to
grow. In 2017, AAP will expand from its pilot stage of only
including 200 schools and 3 police districts to including
all 8 of the Fairfax County police districts and the Fairfax
City police. As the program expands, more data is being
collected and will undergo deeper analysis. Program
leaders will continue to monitor actively program data and
evaluations in order to better serve more youth and community stakeholders, raise awareness about the many
positive outcomes available through restorative justice
and learn from the experience.
The multi-agency restorative justice program model has
potential applications for adapted use with other audiences
in early intervention, diversion, and re-entry scenarios.
It presents one format for consideration in the broad
and growing field of restorative work. The AAP works
because it is a truly integrative model with a premium on
collaboration. The partnering agencies fully support the
program’s mission; and they commit time and resources
into ensuring its success in helping youth to correct their
course while repairing harm in affected communities.
is an attorney and
a practicing mediator. He is co-coor-dinator of NVMS’
cases, training and
has made practice-oriented restorative
justice presentations before
local and national
audiences and has
been involved in
since 2007. He has
articles on restorative justice.
36 Middle;Eastern 2