Fairfax County Adult Accountability for Safer Communities


The Fairfax County Adult Accountability for Safer Communities is a victim-oriented community response to crime using restorative-justice (RJ) diversion for young (18-26 year old) offenders. The AASC is a collaborative program of the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office (FCCA) and NVMS. The program is modeled after the Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program which employ’s RJ practices and education as an alternative for first time juvenile offenders who commit an eligible offense in Fairfax County.

The AASC uses the principles of restorative justice to achieve three primary goals:

  1. Provide victims an opportunity to have a voice in the resolution of the harm done to them.
  2. Reduce recidivism or harmful or criminal behavior, protecting the safety of our community.
  3. Promote unbiased treatment of offenders.
  4. Hold young adult accountable without dooming them to short and long-term risk factors of representation in the criminal justice system – college admission, employment opportunities, apartment/car renting, healthcare licensing, immigration status, child custody/adoption, etc., as well as social rejection and negative impacts on financial and mental health.

The program is designed to address critical issues affecting young adults including but not limited to:

  • Assault and/or Battery
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism/Destruction of Property
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Harassment/Bullying

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?

What is the AASC Processes?

AASC is a multiple step program that consists of two conferences during which a trained facilitator assists the offender and victim seek an agreement to address the harm incurred by the victim.

Step 1. Pre‐Conference The facilitator will conduct a pre‐conference meeting with each participant to understand their perspective about the incident, their needs, and their willingness and readiness to meet jointly with the other participants. After the pre‐conference(s) the facilitator will evaluate if the needs of the offender
and victim are right for the RJ processes and try to address any concerns that may stop the case from going to the joint conference.

Step 2. Joint Conference After all participants have completed a pre‐conference and the facilitator has deemed the case is appropriate for RJ, the facilitator will schedule a time to bring the groups together for the joint conference. Those groups include, offenders, victims and/ or affected community stakeholders, as appropriate. The facilitators help participants engage in a safe and confidential conversation about the incident of harm. They will assist the participants in constructing an agreement that repairs the harm (as much as feasible) and restores affected relationships.

Step 3. Agreement and Compliance If all participants reach an agreement, the facilitator will document it. All participants will be asked to sign the agreement and commit to fulfilling their responsibilities.

Step 4. Conclusion Once all terms in the agreement have been satisfied, the facilitator notifies Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the participants.

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 or contact Taylor Piepenhagen at tpiepenhagen@nvms.us.