WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY — May 28, 2020 — Mimi Rocah, the former federal prosecutor running for Westchester District Attorney, on May 26th expressed her support for victim-driven restorative justice and called for measures to not only reduce crime, but repair the harm caused by crime in Westchester County. Following the lead of organizations like Restorative Justice International, Rocah is committed to prioritizing the needs of victims, holding offenders accountable, and giving restorative justice facilitators the resources they need to help heal the community after a violent crime has been committed. Rocah discusses her position during this podcast interview with RJI earlier this month.
Restorative justice is a practice that focuses on repairing the harm done by crime and, by centering the needs of victims, encourages direct accountability from offenders. Restorative justice promotes the healing and rehabilitation of victims, offenders, and communities, and stands in contrast to a punitive approach to justice. Restorative justice can take many forms, but it is important that communities are directly engaged and the victim is always at the helm of deciding when, how, and in what form the restorative justice takes place. The ultimate goal of this approach is to allow victims to identify and address their needs and reach a resolution that can repair relationships and allow for reintegration. Research has shown that restorative justice can reduce recidivism rates, increase victim satisfaction, and save money for taxpayers.
“Ending the era of mass incarceration and making our criminal justice system more effective, efficient, and fair requires a rethinking of criminal justice, including a real commitment to restorative justice,” said Rocah. “Far too often in our criminal justice system, victims are left out of the equation and are unable to heal far beyond a sentencing. Through restorative justice, victims are brought in as stakeholders, empowered to seek direct accountability from the offender, and are given an opportunity to recover from trauma on their own terms. Close family members have been victims of violent crime and so demanding more from our criminal justice system for crime victims is a top priority for me. We must seek alternatives to the punitive approach that has led to mass incarceration, high rates of recidivism, and a vicious cycle for offenders with no way out. Given the right investment and resources, restorative justice can have transformative effects on our community.”
Rocah, who ran the Westchester office of the Department of Justice under President Obama, has released detailed plans to modernize prosecutions of sex crimes, get guns off our streets, aggressively address the human trafficking and opioid crises, increase transparency, create a real Conviction Integrity Unit, prosecute environmental crimes, implement a Labor Crimes Bureau to address wage theft and workers’ safety, and overhaul ethics reforms in the DA’s office. Most recently, Rocah was the Pace University School of Law’s Distinguished Fellow in Criminal Justice and a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. A resident of Scarsdale, she has served as a school safety chair at her children’s elementary school, volunteered with Moms Demand Action to fight for gun safety, and worked with My Sister’s Place on issues involving domestic violence, human trafficking, and online child predators.