highest level of restorative effects because they involve a
larger number of people affected by the crime.
Restorative Justice for Adults
Currently, restorative justice can involve either adults or adolescents who are facing a judicial process or who are already
incarcerated. In the case of restorative justice involving adult
offenders, a petition to participate in a restorative justice process must always come from the victim or other offended
party. If an offender wishes to participate in a restorative
meeting, an indispensable prerequisite to such participation
is that the offender accept responsibility for committing the
Once all parties agree to participate, the facilitator prepares all participants who will be present during the meeting
for effective participation in a restorative meeting. Adequate
preparation of participants is essential and may be complex.
For example, the facilitator must evaluate the offender’s
level of remorse, embarrassment, shame or guilt, as well
as the victim’s negative emotions such as hate, rancor,
vengeance or fear. Through the preparation process, the
facilitator learns the private stories of the participants,
which often differ from the generally known public stories.
As the result of a reform contained in the National Law for
Execution of Criminal Judgments, published in 2016, restorative meetings may also take place after the offender is
incarcerated. These meetings can have very positive effects
because they allow offenders to take responsibility for the
damage they caused and recognize that the damage is collective, often affecting an entire community. As a result, such
meetings could reduce future recidivism.
Restorative Justice for Adolescents
Although some Mexican states were already using restorative justice processes for juveniles before the National Law
for a Comprehensive System of Criminal Justice for Juveniles
went into effect in 2016, that law greatly enhanced the knowledge, diffusion and use of restorative justice for juveniles. The
new law applies to any juvenile between the ages of 12 and 18
years of age who is accused of committing any type of crime.
Under the law, restorative processes may take place during
the pendency of a judicial case against a juvenile or after a
juvenile is convicted and incarcerated. A juvenile participating in a restorative process must always be accompanied by
a parent or guardian. In addition, the facilitator must have a
general certification as a facilitator, but also possess special
training in juvenile justice matters.
The law that creates the new comprehensive system of
juvenile criminal justice establishes a guiding principle of
minimum intervention in criminal cases involving juveniles. It
encourages minimal use of formal judicial processes, requires
full respect for juveniles’ human rights, and privileges the
use of restorative processes over formal judicial processes.
The law also establishes the principle that restorative justice is an appropriate response to criminal behavior. The
goals of the restorative response are mutual understanding,
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