Juvenile Services

Juvenile Services

What are Juvenile Services?

MRJC provides Restorative Justice Services to youth ages 6–17, their families, and the community through programs that are aimed at assisting youth in resolving interpersonal disputes, decision-making conflicts, and acts of wrongdoing or harm in a productive and educationally-proactive manner. Services can be accessed via a referral of the juvenile by parents, school officials, government agencies, or other concerned parties desiring restorative and mutually-beneficial resolutions to conflict.
Juvenile Services

MRJC’s Juvenile Programs

The Juvenile Mediation Program uses a restorative justice lens to address risk factors and resolve disputes such as interpersonal conflict, truancy, bullying, conflict in the home, and runaway behavior. Mediations are facilitated by a neutral mediator who helps enhance pathways of communication and guides all parties involved to reach appropriate and reasonable solutions. Restorative processes offered include Victim-Offender Mediation, Truancy Mediation, Family Group Conferencing, and Restorative Dialogue.

The Sentencing Circles program works to resolve conflict and reach restorative solutions for juvenile cases requiring a broader and/or more intensive intervention. Sentencing Circles utilizes trained community volunteers, peers, and circle leaders to assist the young person in proactively addressing and making amends for a harmful incident or behavioral concern. This approach implements community and collaborative aspects of restorative justice to contribute to juvenile justice system diversion and services.

The Wilkes Restorative Conferencing program offers Mediation, Family Group Conferencing, and other restorative services to youth and families in Wilkes County, NC.

Juvenile Mediation and Sentencing Circles programs are funded by the Department of Public Safety and County Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils (JCPC) in six counties, and the Wilkes Restorative Conferencing program is funded by a grant from the Wilkes Community Foundation. Services are available at no cost to participants or referring parties.

Service Area

MRJC provides juvenile services across a seven-county area in Northwestern North Carolina. Juvenile Mediation is offered throughout the 24th Judicial District (Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Yancey, and Watauga counties), as well as Ashe County in the 23rd Judicial District. Sentencing Circles is offered in all five counties of the 24th Judicial District as well. Wilkes Restorative Conferencing is available in Wilkes County (23rd JD) only.
Juvenile Services

Mission Statements

The Juvenile Mediation program provides youth and their families the opportunity to discuss and problem-solve around unresolved conflict through a productive, restorative process to develop future-focused goals and agreements.

Sentencing Circles is a restorative justice-oriented program dedicated to repairing harm through the Circle process by focusing on collaboration, partnership, and consensus, resulting in more empowered and connected juveniles and communities.

What Happens in Juvenile Mediation

The approaches and processes of mediation vary depending upon the referral and conflict type; however, the overall structure and components are similar. Once a juvenile is referred by a concerned party, all parties involved have the opportunity to meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) to discuss the conflict and speak openly, productively, and educationally to attempt to reach an agreement. The final step of the process is the creation of a written agreement that meets the needs of all parties and documents the resolution of the conflict. The future-focused agreements also offer repaired relationships, decreased hostility, and improved communication and conflict resolution skills.
Juvenile Services

What Happens in Sentencing Circles

The approach of Sentencing Circles is to resolve juvenile conflict by incorporating and creating a safe, community-oriented space — within which all parties discuss appropriate responses that most-effectively resolve a crime or behavioral complaint. After completion of the referral and intake, a circle is convened with trained adult volunteers, peer volunteers, circle leaders, the juvenile and family, and the victim (if appropriate) to work through the conflict, its sources, and possible solutions. The Circle is facilitated by a trained “circle keeper,” who elicits feedback, experiences, and discussion from all circle members. This meeting results in open communication among all parties, mutually-agreed-upon solutions for resolving conflict, and the creation of an integrated community atmosphere of acceptance and progress for the juvenile.

Benefits of Juvenile Services

The juvenile services offered by MRJC intervene on multiple levels to implement restorative justice strategies within the juvenile justice systems, school systems, community agencies, and families. The programs address the root causes of youth wrongdoing and crime in proactive, collaborative, and creative ways with the goal of decreasing recidivism and future incarceration rates. Additionally, the programs help to enhance community relations and foster social and environmental improvements. Further, juvenile services help to educate young people, as well as their families and communities, about using conflict management tools and alternative dispute resolution strategies in all aspects of daily life. The services provided by MRJC are intended to accomplish longitudinal improvements in the community’s collective ability to proactively address and resolve conflicts in order to decrease hostility, prevent harm, and improve public safety.

Juvenile Services Contact Information

Lindsey Allen
Avery & Mitchell Mediator/Sentencing Circles Coordinator (Program Lead)

Valerie Fitch
Watauga Mediator (Program Lead)

Mackenzie Laney
Watauga Sentencing Circles Coordinator

Daniel Slate
Yancey & Madison Mediator/Sentencing Circles Coordinator

Marisa Cornell
MRJC Executive Director/JCPC Program Manager

Mediation & Restorative Justice Center, Inc.

133 N. Water Street, Suite B
Boone, NC 28607

Contact Us
Mediation Services to the Western North Carolina communities of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey counties..
About MRJC
Providing Mediation and Restorative Justice Services within the Western North Carolina Communities of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey Counties.
Mediation & Restorative Justice Center, Inc.
133 N. Water Street, Suite B
Boone, NC 28607
We are looking to donors like you to help us provide these life-changing services. Every donation, no matter how small, helps. Thank you for supporting MRJC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.