Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program (AAP)
Repairing Harm from Youth Offenses in the Community
The Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program becomes part of Fairfax County Police Department policies county-wide on June 1, 2017. While this is an exciting development, applying restorative justice practices to solve problems in Fairfax County is not new. The Alternative Accountability Program (AAP) launched in 2014 to address crimes committed by youth with accountability while reducing risk factors tied to court involvement and giving a voice to victims. AAP is based on restorative justice (RJ) principles. RJ began in Fairfax County in the Schools in 2004 and helps youth and community members have harmed to address select criminal offenses effectively without creating a criminal record for the youth involved. The AAP is a unique, collaborative effort to pro-actively address priority areas of concern surrounding juvenile crime and discipline.
The AAP program focuses on critical issues in the community such as: re-offence and recidivism of harmful criminal and discipline acts, minority over-representation of youth in criminal justice & disciplinary proceedings, community stakeholder harm from youth crimes; and victim impact.
Restorative Justice conferencing is a proven approach in regards to addressing these serious issues and increasing positive outcomes. The goals for this particular program are: to reduce the number of youth who are court-involved and have criminal records; to hold youth accountable for their actions without exposing them to risk factors associated with having a criminal record; to create appropriate, incident-specific responses for each case; to reduce recurrence of criminal acts by youth; and to provide support for victims to participate in identifying how their harm is addressed.
Here are the agencies and organizations that are collaborating on this program:
- Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD)
- Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)
- Fairfax County Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court (JDRDC)
- Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS)
- Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS)
- Fairfax City Police Department
- Additional supports may come from other county agencies and nonprofits (in-kind space, outreach, research)
The partner agencies collaborate in order to identify eligible youth, provide services and share information. AAP services are provided in a variety of locations within Fairfax County, including schools, community centers and Police stations. The Program is supported by the Fairfax County Consolidated Community Funding Pool.
Below is an outline of the process that will be followed by the responsible organizations:
Police Officers refer youth arrested for appropriate crimes;
Juvenile Courts check the eligibility of youth for RJ program;
NVMS, FCPS and JDRDC provide services in the form of restorative conferences involving the referred youth, their parent(s) and affected community members;
NVMS and FCPS track compliance with agreements;
NVMS maintains program data and shares it with partner agencies for program evaluation (within confidentiality procedures); and
Representatives from all partner agencies meet frequently to review progress and continue work to advance and expand access to the program.
For More Information, visit: https://nvms.us/fairfax-rj/