While the causes of recidivism are complex and pervasive, one identifiable problem is the overuse of probation to remedy nonviolent misdemeanor and felony violations of law. Georgia has the highest rate of probationers in the country, almost quadruple the national average. The states’ excessive supervision of nonviolent individuals creates a steep financial burden to tax payers. Resolving legal violations with traditional probation and criminal convictions impedes rehabilitation and social mobility of individuals. Criminal convictions reduce an individual’s access to anti-poverty, housing and educational programs, creating a breeding ground for recidivism.
RED is an evidence-based, restorative justice program aligned with the initiatives of Georgia’s Counsel on Criminal Justice Reform to reduce recidivism and supervisory detention. RED provides at risk youths with a foundation of social, civic and financial literacy, access to human resources, mentorship and prevents a permanent criminal record. This holistic approach promotes personal development and social mobility for the individual to escape the cycle of recidivism. Restorative justice programs are approximately one-third the cost of traditional probation and, more importantly, the investment adds long-term value to our communities. Positioning individuals to become gainfully employed tax contributors instead of recidivists, stimulates the economy, reduces corrections expenditures and makes our communities safer for residents and law enforcement.
RED’s curriculum is structured to develop the participants’ social, civic and financial literacy through task-oriented learning, engaging workshops and interactive educational modules. Program participants are paired with appropriate mentors based on our individual-needs intake assessment. Mentors support the participants in their personal development and goals and guide them in the completion of course requirements. RED program costs one third of the amount of traditional probation.