Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program

The Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program (AAP) is a collaborative community-oriented response to juvenile crime. The AAP is supported by each partner agency and by the Fairfax County Consolidated Community Funding Pool. The program began being implemented across the county in fiscal year 2018. Partner agencies of the AAP are:

  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Fairfax County Juvenile Court Services
  • Fairfax County Police Department and the Vienna City Police
  • Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services
  • NVMS Conflict Resolution Center

Fairfax County School Resource Officers as well as Patrol Officers, may refer youth who commit select crimes to this program. The AAP uses the principles of restorative justice to focus on:

  1. Address disproportionate minority youth representation in the criminal justice system and disciplinary proceedings.
  2. Reduce juvenile recidivism of harmful criminal and behavioral acts.
  3. Hold youth accountable for their actions without exposing them to the risks of a criminal record.
  4. Provide victims an opportunity to be actively involved in resolution of their case.

The program is designed to address critical issues affecting our youth including:

  • theft and larceny
  • property damage
  • disorderly conduct
  • arson
  • possession of alcohol
  • trespassing and
  • harassment

We use restorative justice (RJ) as the core of our approach. RJ is a facilitated dialogue between the people who were harmed and those suspected of causing the harm. The dialogue takes place in a circle setting with a trained RJ facilitator guiding the conversation. Any individual directly impacted by the incident is invited to participate. This may include family members, friends, peers, teachers, school administrators, store owners, property owners, or the referring officer to name a few.

RJ is a safe and respectful process that holds people accountable for their choices and behaviors, while repairing the harm caused by these actions.

How is Restorative Justice Different?

Traditional Justice Restorative Justice
What rules were broken?What happened?
Who broke them?Who was harmed?
How should they be punished?How can this harm be repaired?

The Restorative Justice Process

Trained and experienced restorative justice facilitators will first conduct separate pre-conferences. At these pre-conferences, the facilitators meet with each of the participants to understand their individual perspectives about the incident, their needs, and their willingness and readiness to meet jointly with the other participants.

In the joint restorative justice conference, the facilitators help participants engage in a safe and confidential conversation about the incident. When participants are ready, the facilitator will assist them in constructing an agreement that repairs the harm and that restores affected relationships.

Participation in a restorative justice process is voluntary. All participants must be committed contributing in good faith. Anyone may decide to terminate the session at any time.

Check out our Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report for the Alternative Accountability Program

Restorative Justice Services

If you have not been referred by a Fairfax County agency, but think restorative justice would be helpful in your situation, visit our Restorative Justice Services Page.