Frequently Asked Questions

Our goal is to be the most valuable resource for Criminal Justice Reform and we encourage you to read our blog, follow us on social media and stay engaged within your community. Our hope is that our website arms you with the information and resources you need to empower yourself and your community. We are in this together. If you don’t get your questions answered here, please feel free to contact us and we will get back as soon as possible.

Program

How does RED work within the traditional court system?

RED is a pre-adjudication diversion program. What that means: RED participants are not required to enter a guilty plea, they do not face incarceration or probation. RED participants are initially on the court’s docket to sit before a judge and face prosecution. When they are selected for RED, a decison made by the prosecuting official, they are removed from the court’s docket and scheduled for program orientation. If they successfully complete the requirements of RED’s restorative justice curriculum, they will remain off of the prosecution track, and will have their case’s dismissed and their records restricted (expunged).

How long is RED’s Restorative Justice Program?

RED’s Restorative Justice Program is 12 months in length. Each month consists of a unique educational module.

Who is eligible for the RED Restorative Justice Program?

Currently, only non-violent offenders within the DeKalb County Superior Court jurisdiction are eligible. RED is anticipate expand into other Georgia jurisdictions commencing in 2021.

How are individuals for RED’s Restorative Justice Program vetted/selected?

RED partners with prosecuting officials that determine whether an individual is eligible for RED’s Restorative Justice Program by reviewing the individual’s criminal record and pending charges. To qualify for orientation, individuals must not have an extensive criminal record and their current charges must not be violent in nature.

Can individuals enter the program at different times throughout the year?

No. RED operates in cohorts, with cohorts beginning in January and graduating in December.

Who do I contact to enroll in the program?

The only way to enroll in RED’s Restorative Justice Progam is to be charged with a crime in a jurisdiction that administers the RED program. You would then need to be selected by the prosecuting official.

Can I recommend a youthful, nonviolent offender to RED?

The only way to enroll in RED’s Restorative Justice Progam is to be charged with a crime in a jurisdiction that administers the RED program. You would then need to be selected by the prosecuting official.

Does successful completion of the program ultimately provide criminal record restriction, formerly known as expungement, to the participant?

Yes! Following successful completion of the program, participants will have their records restricted.

After an individual completes the program, how long does it take for their record to be restricted?

Generally, record restriction takes between 30 and 180 days. This is contingent on the volume of cases eligible for record restriction within the jurisdiction.

What are the consequences for an individual who does not complete the program in time?

If an individual fails to complete the program, they return to the prosecution track. This means that they would be scheduled to appear in court which could lead to a conviction and possible incarceration and/or probation.

What are the consequences for an individual who drops out of the program?

If an individual fails to complete the program, they return to the prosecution track. This means that they would be scheduled to appear in court which could lead to a conviction and possible incarceration and/or probation.

How much does RED’s Restorative Justice Program cost?

The program is free to participants in the program. The direct program costs are roughly $60,000-$75,000 depending on the cohort size.

How much does it cost per student to complete the program?

RED’s Restorative Justice program costs roughly $3,000 per indivdual. However, it is free for the participant. RED is funded through donors, foundations and private corporations.

Who pays for the administration of RED’s Restorative Justice Program?

RED is funded through foundations, private corporations and individual donors.

Does RED’s Restorative Justice Program save taxpayer’s money?

Yes! Typical adjudication within Georgia costs taxpayers roughly $20,000 per individual. RED costs roughly $3,000 per individual.

Which jurisdictions currently use RED?

We are currently operating in DeKalb County, GA. We are in talks with several other Georgia counties, as well as several other southeast states.

Are there any other similarly structured programs (non-profit & otherwise) offered to young, non-violent offenders in GA?

Georgia has several public accountabilty and diversion programs that are similar to RED. However, we believe our program to be more comprehensive.

How are the successes of RED’s Restorative Justice Program measured?

RED administers intake and exit forms to all participants. We use these as pre-post tests to gauge the effectiveness of RED’s Restorative Justice Curriculum. We also gauge success on recidivism statistics, cost-effectiveness, and post-program indicators such as the ability of participants to gain employment or progress academically.

Has RED’s Restorative Justice Program been proven successful for mentees/participants in the past?

Yes! The Georgia Center for Opportunity estimates that the state averages a 50% recidivism rate. Based on the data available to us, we estimate that RED has a 5% recidivism rate.

By what standards/criteria are qualifying online curriculum lessons selected?

RED utilizes the annual report data provided by Georgia’s Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform to engineer program curriculums. The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform is a fifteen-member, non-partisan state commission tasked with conducting annual comprehensive reviews of the entire criminal justice system in order to optimize criminal proceedings, accountability courts and the allocation of general tax fund dollars in the state of Georgia.

Donors & Sponsors

What ways can I support RED?

You can support RED in a number of ways! The biggest need and most impactful is through financial contributions. Providing in-kind products and services is also extremely helpful. You can also advocate for RED! Many of our successes have come from word-of-mouth relationships. Tell your family and friends about the importance of this work! Sign up for our newsletter to stay current on our progress.

Can I sponsor a RED participant?

Yes! We estimate that it costs roughly $3,000 per participant for a year of programming. If you’d like to sponsor a participant please reach out to us at info@stoprecidivism.org.

Can I make donations other than cash [in-kind]?

Yes! We are always looking for partners in the fight against recidivism. This includes in-kind products and services.

Mentors

What qualities is RED looking for in a mentor?

Being able to relate to your mentee is the main component in building trust. We find that mentor-mentee relationships bloom when both parties have shared experiences. Other important qualites are being an active listener and being reliable. It is important that you show up when and where you say you will. Mentor and mentee engagement requires patience, understanding and compassion. It is not your role to discipline or change your mentee, but to understand your mentee and guide their development.

I don’t have any previous experience mentoring, can I still be a mentor?

Yes! RED provides a program overview and training to all mentors prior to being matched with a mentee. We also have experienced, professional mentors available to answer any questions you may have along the way.

What type of support or training do you provide the mentors?

Prior to mentors meeting their mentees, RED hosts a mentor program overview followed by a training session. We worked closely with a consultant who developed the mentor-mentee program within the DeKalb County Public School System. With their help, we created a comprehensive mentor training manual. We walk each mentor through this manual during the training session and answer any questions that may arise. Mentors also receive a copy of the manual that can be used throughout the 12 month period. We also have a Director of Mentorship Programs who is available to assist and support mentors throughout the year

How frequently do mentors and mentees meet?

Each mentor-mentee relationship is unique. Some mentees will want more face-to-face contact than others. At a minimum, we suggest meeting on a bi-weekly frequency.

How many hours a week should I expect to devote to my role as a mentor?

It depends on your relationship with your mentee. On average, we see mentors spending 1-2 hours per week between face-to face meetings, texts, or phone calls.

I have a criminal history, can I still mentor?

We vet mentors on a case by case basis, however, a criminal record isn’t an eliminating factor. In fact, a criminal record often helps a mentor relate to the current situation of the mentee (if you havent’ read up on our founder, he has been arrested thirteen times).

Miscellaneous

Which jurisdictions currently use RED?

We are currently operating in DeKalb County, GA. We are in talks with several other Georgia counties, as well as several other southeast states.

Who does recidivism affect?

Everyone! Incarceration is expensive and generally ineffective! Roughly 50% of those incarcerated will reoffend within three years following their release. In a study conducted by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, researchers found that 1,729 participants who went through alternative court programs generated over $38 million in economic benefits to Georgia. In comparison, incarceration of those same indiviudals would cost the state roughly $34 million. These savings can be used in local schools, to fix potholes, or whatever the need is in your community!

How can I sign up for the newsletter?

You can sign up for the newsletter here!

How often is the newsletter emailed to me if I sign up?

The newsletter is sent out on a monthly basis. It is typically sent the first week of each month.

What information is contained in the newsletter?

The newsletter provides a general recap of the the prior months RED related activities. We also include upcoming events, RED videos, and the most up-to-date blogs.

Can I opt out of the newsletter if I no longer wish to receive it?

Yes! If you no longer wish to receive the newsletter you can unsubscribe by clicking “unsubscribe” located at the bottom of the monthly newsletter.

Can I get someone from RED to speak at my organization or event?

Of course! David, our founder, is a frequent guests for rotary meetings, criminal justice forums, news & radio, and other community gatherings. We’d love the opportunity to speak to your audience! Please reach out to us at info@stoprecidivsm.org for more information.

I want to hire a RED graduate, how do I do that?

We work with an organization, Jobrise, that provides second-chance opportunites for our participants. We can put you in contact with them, or, you can contact us directly at info@stoprecidivsm.org.

How do I become a guest contributor to the blog?

We are always looking for guest writers! You can reach out to us at info@stoprecidivism.org for more information or to submit something previously written.

Does RED have any annual activities and/or charity events?

Yes! We have our annual Flag Football Tournament Fundraiser, and we also have various events throughout the year. The best way to stay informed is to sign up for the newsletter to get RED’s updates as they become available.

I’m a judge/lawyer/sheriff, how can I make RED’s Restorative Justice Program available to individuals in my county?

Start by signing up for our newsletter. In due course, RED will offer it’s Restorative Justice Curriculum via a cloud based online platform. Users will be able to log in to a dashboard complete with all of RED’s social, civic and financial literacy modules. If you want to learn more about how to acquire digital curriculum licenses, please send us an email – info@stoprecidivism.org

Definitions of Commonly Used Words and Phrases

What is recidivism?

Recidivism is the tendency of a person who has committed a crime to reoffend. In Georgia, the recidivism rate, on average, is roughly 50%. This means that 50% of all people who commit a crime will reoffend. In our four years of operation RED has produced an estimated 5% recidivism rate.

Who does recidivism affect?

Everyone! Incarceration is expensive and generally ineffective! Roughly 50% of those incarcerated will reoffend within three years following their release. In a study conducted by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, researchers found that 1,729 participants who went through alternative court programs generated over $38 million in economic benefits to Georgia. In comparison, incarceration of those same indiviudals would cost the state roughly $34 million. These savings can be used in local schools, to fix potholes, or whatever the need is in your community!

What does record restriction mean?

Record Restriction refers to sealing a participants criminal record so that the charges are no longer visible to potential employers, landlords, educational institutions, etc. In Georgia, this process was formerly known as expungement.

What is restorative justice?

Restorative Justice is a broad term that is often defined in many different ways. Here at RED, we view Restorative Justice as a system that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punitive measures. We believe the path to productive citizens is through education, not incarceration.

What are the definitions of commonly used terms encountered on the website?

Civic literacy – the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in civic life through knowing how to stay informed, understanding governmental processes, and knowing how to exercise the rights and obligations of citizenship at local, state, national, and global levels.

Financial literacy – the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources, including banking, budgeting, and credit.

Social literacy – the development of cognitive, emotional and intellectual capabilities to interact positively in a defined society.

Rehabilitation  – the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.

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