The Balanced Approach mandates contained in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Act, as amended by Act 33, provide the framework for Restorative Justice to occur within the Commonwealth's juvenile justice system. The values upon which Balanced and Restorative Justice is based include the following:
Offender Accountability is based on the idea that when an offense occurs, an obligation is incurred by the offender and addresses the fact that crime can forever change its victim. The objective under accountability is to restore the victim, to the greatest extent possible, to his/her pre-crime status including, but not limited to, financial status and emotional and physical well-being.
Competency Development stresses the fact that juvenile offenders who come under the jurisdiction of the Court should be more capable of living productively and responsibly within the community when they leave the system than when they entered.
Community Protection emphasizes the fundamental rights of all Pennsylvania citizens to both be safe and feel safe from crime. Activities directed at community protection share the ultimate goal of preventing juvenile crime from occurring.
Individualization emphasizes that each juvenile offender has a unique set of circumstances and factors that contributed to his/her behavior and that the system's response to the offender should therefore be individualized and based on an assessment of these unique contributing factors.
Balance stresses that justice is best served when the community, the victim, and the juvenile offender receive balanced attention and all gain tangible outcomes from their interaction with the juvenile justice system.
For more information regarding Balanced and Restorative Justice, please visit the PA Commission on Crime & Delinquency.