Federal funding for restorative youth academy

Aug 4, 2022

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State has secured $4.1 million in Federal funding for 10 key community-based projects across the Seattle area, including $300,000 Awarded for Restorative Justice for Youth in South King County.

“I am deeply proud to announce that all 10 of the important community-based projects that I fought for on behalf of our Seattle region have been successfully included in the House’s appropriations legislation,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “This is a critical step towards bringing home millions of additional Federal dollars that will increase affordable housing and green energy, advance education and the arts, promote racial and economic justice, support Tribal communities and protect our natural environment, and reduce gun violence.”

This project supports efforts to reduce gun violence in the community by diverting offenses from the traditional court process, which focuses on punishment and labeling conduct, to a restorative justice approach that utilizes peacemaking circles and better communication levels.  The program is one of the only a few in the country that refers high-level juvenile offenders to restorative practice.  They have been shown to be more effective in reducing recidivism rates than traditional court processing.

Saroeum Phoung, Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) of The Peacemaking Academy, said the money will go a long way in supporting the Restorative Justice for Youth project, which works toward changing the way young offenders are moved through the legal system.

“Our goal is to create successful diversionary programs that partner with governmental agencies, justice systems, schools, and non-profits for a culture of trust and authentic change.  It builds community with agencies and at-risk youth, shifting the entire paradigm from punishment to positive change.”

Although the funding is a huge step forward in the project, more donations and grants are sought to expand both local and national movements around the creation of justice reform.