MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich announced a new community justice program Monday that would give communities a more active role in the criminal justice process.
The DA’s office says this is an alternative to traditional prosecution and is created to restore victims and communities that have been impacted by crime.
Cases will be heard by Community Justice Panels and participation from criminals and victims is voluntary, according to Weirich.
“After hearing from a victim in a case involving theft or vandalism, for example, the panel might order restitution, community service and even an apology from the offender,” said Weirich. “The panel also will listen to offenders to see what help can be provided – education, job training, counseling – to make them contributing members of the community.”
The program is still in its beginning stage, which is called community engagement, and will only thrive based on the level of interest presented by the community.
Weirich says recruitment for volunteers is already underway.