Victim Restorative Justice

Victim Restorative Justice

NDCS Restorative Justice programs offer crime victims a victim-centered approach to justice and healing. In a safe and secure environment, these programs focus on the needs of the victim and offer an avenue of healing that otherwise would not be obtained. Additionally, these programs allow individuals incarcerated within NDCS to take accountability for their actions. 

NDCS Victim Services program oversees and maintains NDCS Restorative Justice programs, including the  Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) and Accountability Letter Bank (ALB).

Victim Offender Dialogue

Victim Offender Dialogue
Victim Offender Dialogue

Victim Offender Dialogue is a voluntary process in which trained facilitators assist the victim and incarcerated individual in talking about the crime and its impact, express feelings, get questions answered, and move toward closure and healing.

How does it work?

  • Only the victim can request Victim Offender Dialogue and participation is completely voluntary. 
  • Careful screening is done to ensure the process is safe and appropriate for each case. Prior to the dialogue, the facilitators meet with the victim and incarcerated individual separately to prepare them. Typically, several preparation meetings are necessary so both individuals are fully prepared and ready to meet face to face. 
  • The role of the facilitator is not to judge or provide therapy, but rather to provide structure for the discussion, assist communication and manage the process.
  • The process is flexible and can include counselors or advocates for support, if desired. There is no cost to program participants.

What are the benefits of the Victim Offender Dialogue?

  • Provides victims a structured, safe and secure environment to meet with the incarcerated individual
  • Facilitates healing, restoration and recovery
  • Express feelings like anger and pain directly to the person responsible
  • Get questions answered
  • Can help you feel more powerful and in control of your life
  • Is a chance for incarcerated individuals to see the human consequences of their crime and take accountability for their actions
  • Provides closure for those affected by the crime
  • Can reduce feelings of fear, anxiety or vulnerability

To participate

If you are interested in participating in the Victim Offender Dialogue, sign up here.

Accountability Letter Bank

Accountability Letter Bank
Accountability Letter Bank

The Accountability Letter Bank is a structured, voluntary Restorative Justice process in which individuals incarcerated within NDCS take full accountability for their crime(s) and the harm they caused to their victims. The NDCS Victim Services Program provides oversight and monitoring of the accountability letters incarcerated individuals submit to ensure no further harm is caused to the victims who choose to receive the letters.

Victims must voluntarily opt-in to participate in this program and will only receive a letter deposited for them in the letter bank with their affirmative consent.

How does it work?

  • To participate in this voluntary program, crime victims must be at least 18 years of age and opt-in to the program.
  • Once registered, victims will be offered a second opportunity to affirm participation in the program after an letter is deposited.
  • If a letter is submitted by an incarcerated individual, NDCS Victim Services Coordinator will review each letter for appropriateness, accountability, and the potential for any harm to be caused to the victim. The Victim Services Coordinator or designee will contact the victim only if they have registered with NDCS Victim/Witness Notification program and selected to opt-in to receive notice that a letter has been deposited for them. The victim can then decide if they would still like to receive the letter.
    • If the victim would like to receive the letter, the Victim Services Coordinator will make arrangements to share it in one of the following methods: U.S. postal mail, email, advised orally by phone, or in person at the Victim Services Coordinator’s office with the Victim Services Coordinator or designee

What are the benefits of the Accountability Letter Bank?

  • Allows victims a safe and confidential avenue for healing
  • Affords individuals incarcerated within NDCS the opportunity to express the harm they have caused the victim and explain their understanding of the harm
  • Allows individuals incarcerated within NDCS the opportunity to voluntarily take full accountability for the harm and crime they committed to the victim

To participate 

If you are interested in participating in the Accountability Letter Bank program, sign up here