AMOS’ Restorative Justice Strategy Advances in Iowa

After observing juvenile judicial hearings at the Polk County Courthouse through their recently established ‘Courtwatchers’ program, leaders of A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy, AMOS, identified a 767% increase in misdemeanor holds for African American youth and an overall increase in juvenile detention holds overall.  Leaders soon called publicly for a return of a restorative justice approach that had served Polk County well for years, among other policy recommendations.

The Des Moines Register notes that the juvenile justice system is “slowly evolving in response” to long lasting consequences on youth from court involvement, an issue raised by AMOS earlier this year.  The front page story below includes the impact of such an approach on at least one Iowan teen.  [In photo: Alec Neumann listens during a church discussion group.  Credit: Bryon Houlgrave, Des Moines Register]

Iowa Kids: After Crime, a Second Chance, Des Moines Register [pdf]