The Role of a Defense Attorney in Restorative Justice in Florida

The Role of a Defense Attorney in Restorative Justice in Florida

One of the byproducts of the criminal justice system is the repeat defendant who continues to commit crimes after they are released from prison.

role of defense lawyer in restorative justice

With a program called Restorative Justice, recidivism and other issues can be mitigated by working with the defendant and the victim (or their family). The program offers some relief to the victims and gives them a voice. It also forces the defendant to be accountable for their actions and make efforts to correct them. Florida is following Colorado’s lead and has begun adopting it for some types of cases.

What Is Restorative Justice?

The current US model of justice focuses on retributive justice, which is focused on crime, punishment, and retribution. Recidivism is a frequent undercurrent of this model, especially with younger defendants.

Restorative justice focuses on the defendant’s accountability and how their actions impacted the victim. For youth facing criminal charges, it can be part of a plan to avoid incarceration and offer retribution to their victims. For adults, much will depend on the crime involved. They may be able to avoid a jail sentence or have a reduced sentence with restorative justice incorporated into their probation once they are released.

Defendants meet face-to-face with their crime victims, discuss the impact of the crime, take responsibility for their actions, and make amends. That may mean agreeing to community service after release, taking classes such as anger management, or other court-mandated requirements. The goal is more to help make the victims whole again, rather than a plea bargain for the defendant, with better outcomes for everyone involved.

Involvement is voluntary for both victims and defendants. Not every case is eligible for restorative justice, and all parties must agree to engage in the sessions.

How Many States Have Restorative Justice?

Currently, thirty-five states incorporate restorative justice into their laws. California has 40 statutes, laws, and provisions in place to support restorative justice.

In Florida, the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court offers Neighborhood Restorative Justice as part of its Juvenile Division services.

The Florida Restorative Justice Association offers additional information into the process, statutes, case law, and other information.

The Role of the Defense Attorney

A defense attorney protects the rights of the accused in any criminal case and ensures that the defendant receives a fair trial. With restorative justice, the defense attorney has a similar role, ensuring that voices from all the parties are heard. Defense attorneys can acknowledge the impact of the defendant’s actions on the victims while advocating for their clients. They can help the defendant understand the implications and consequences of their actions so the defendant can take responsibility.

Defense attorneys, through reshaping their role in restorative justice, play a crucial part in acknowledging the harm caused, actively fostering a community that prioritizes the welfare of every individual involved, whether victims or offenders.


After an arrest, it’s your responsibility to protect and defend yourself. The police are unconcerned with justice, only making arrests, and solving cases. We believe that you should consult with a criminal defense attorney anytime you are asked to speak to the police. Say nothing to them until you speak with us.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a crime, contact the criminal defense team of Farkas & Crowley as soon as possible. We are available 24/7, whenever you need us. Call (561)-444-9529 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.

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