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Restorative Justice Model and Links

Bridges To Life was founded in 1998 by Houstonian John Sage after the brutal murder of his sister, Marilyn, in 1993.  Based on the principals of Restorative Justice, the BTL program takes crime victims into the prison system with the intent of reducing crime in the community by lowering the recidivism rate of the offenders who complete the program. BTL accomplishes its goal of empowering victims and rehabilitating inmates by educating offenders about the impact that their actions have had, not only on their families, but also on the families of the victims, their friends, and the community at large. 

The Restorative Justice Model, upon which the Bridges To Life program is based, emphasizes the importance of the involvement of victims, offenders and the community in the criminal justice system.  In this way, victims are involved in the process, giving them a chance to “tell their story”, which, in turn, encourages the offender to accept responsibility and cease to commit further crimes.  The primary objectives of Restorative Justice are (from Restorative Justice: An Overview, 1998):

  • To attend fully to the victim’s (and those close to the victim) material, financial, emotional and social needs
  • To prevent recidivism by integrating offenders into the community
  • To enable offenders to assume active responsibility for their actions
  • To re-create a working community that supports the rehabilitation of offenders and victims and is active in preventing crime
  • To provide a means of avoiding the escalation of legal justice and its associated costs and delays
  • To enhance public safety

You can find out more about Restorative Justice through the links below: