King County, Seattle WA USA
After successfully piloting several cases with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) since 2016, under PointOneNorth Consulting LLC, Saroeum Phoung founded The Peacemaking Institute, a registered 501(c)(3), and is now partnering as The Peacemaking Institute with the KCPAO to restart the Peacemaking Academy, formerly the Young Warriors Program.
The Young Warriors Program was launched in 2017 with the partnership of community and various departments within the King County juvenile justice system in response to the trend of high number of felony firearms charges and other felony gang-related charges appearing before the Juvenile Division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
The goal of Peacemaking Academy is to divert offenses from the traditional court process, which focuses on punishment and labeling conduct, to a transformative approach that utilizes Peacemaking Circles, focusing on healing and rehabilitation. The documentary film, A Once and Future Peace, highlights and features our work in the Peacemaking Academy.
Co-designing a collaborative youth diversion program.
Jimmy Hung, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney of the Juvenile Division of the KCPAO, exemplifies exceptional leadership by understanding the importance of engaging and building relationship and trust with communities in order to promote public safety. After Jimmy participated in his first Community and System Introductory Peacemaking Circle Training in 2016, he made a courageous decision to partner with PointOneNorth and pilot a Young Warriors Program, successfully diverting several juvenile cases and fostering healing within young individuals and families. Jimmy’s dedication to bringing balance and restoration to the criminal justice system remains unwavering.
Peacemaking Academy Diversion Program
Young individuals referred to The Peacemaking Institute by the Prosecutor’s Office undergo a thorough vetting process to determine if they meet the program criteria and are suitable for the Peacemaking Circle Process. Our program engagement consists of two tiers.
I. The Peacemaking Academy Curriculum
Young people will undergo the Peacemaking Academy curriculum that utilizes Peacemaking Circle Process designed to create a safe, healthy environment to support vulnerability and address the contributing factors of their wrongful behavior. Key program focus areas are listed below:
- Addressing underlying root causes and help young people break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
- Promoting healing, leadership, and personal development.
- Repairing harm and accountability.
II. Support Structure & Follow Up
Young people will be paired up with a Mentor/Street Outreach Worker staff member who will work with youth participants throughout the duration of the program. Monthly community circles are also hosted to engage system, community, and families together, creating a community of care to support young people and families in their healing journey. Key program focus areas are listed below:
- Creating an environment for trauma-informed work.
- Youth and adult partnership for transformational relationship building.
- Supporting and building healthy families.