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Richmond’s top prosecutor discusses restorative justice in wake of Texas shooting

Richmond’s top prosecutor discusses restorative justice in wake of Texas shooting
Posted at 11:21 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 04:28:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond's Commonwealth's Attorney held a forum on Wednesday night to address concerns about a rise in crime and restorative justice.

Restorative justice is a tough criminal justice topic to tackle in just the 24 hours after the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 21 people dead.

"We just saw a whole bunch of babies get killed in a mass shooting in Texas after a bunch of adults were killed at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo," said Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Collette McEachin.

McEachin said that anyone who is taking part in violence like that will not be part of her restorative justice process.

"It's a process that can be activated by anyone who's not involved with a felony, a violent crime or a crime involving a firearm or distribution of narcotics,” said McEachin. “A lot of cases in General District Court or Juvenile Domestic Relations Court are perfect cases for restorative justice."

Wednesday night's open forum was held on the campus of Virginia Union University.

McEachin spoke to the attendees about possible alternatives for low-level offenders to complete instead of jail time. Alternatives would look like community service or a creative writing program.

“Ultimately, every individual, even a teenager, is responsible for his decisions,” McEachin said. “The scales of justice are a real thing in my mind, so we have to balance the harm, the fright, the trauma that took place there, along with why did a 13-year-old have access to a gun and why did he feel the need to bring it to school?"

McEachin will hold at least two more criminal justice forums for the community.

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