Preventive and Restorative Justice

Restorative justice complements therapeutic justice in that it involves the community and all parties, including offenders, victims, their families and even their neighborhoods and broader constituencies in a process that tries to make everyone as whole as humanly possible. This is what many wise small town leaders would call ” good old fashioned neighborly justice”.  Most jurors tell me they don’t want punishment but consequences and significant help for offenders, including a good measure of “accountability”.  I agree.  This could include an apology, restitution, community service, or accountability by way of probation, jail or prison. It attempts to restore key relationships between offender, victim and community, rather than pursue the politicized and false dichotomy of punishment or rehabilitation. Such a philosophy has been implemented with great success in a variety of cases nationally and internationally involving children, youthful offenders and adult offenders. It has applications in all types of law especially family law. By combining therapeutic justice with restorative justice, litigants and their families will be less likely to emerge frustrated, angry, and ashamed from the process. Hopefully they will find a greater sense of resolution, closure and respect for each other and the justice system. This is not only salutary but truly preventive in nature, particularly where the relationships are improved or repaired where possible. Based on my judicial experience of over thirty years, it is also quite rewarding to the attorneys, judges and staff involved which is no small feat.  Public trust and confidence in our public judicial system in greatly enhanced by restorative justice in my view.


As a Hawai`i Parole Commissioner Judge Town sits several times per week at each of the 9 facilities state wide.  Particularly impacted by life journeys of  individuals, especially women, Judge Town considers this responsibility to be one of great weight, with an opportunity to guide the incarcerated toward a more holistic future utilizing the tools of preventive and restorative justice.

Another restorative justice project undertaken annually for the last six years is a large youth camp over Labor Day at Hawaii’s famous YMCA Camp Erdman for 150 children of prisoners, known as Camp Agape.  We will serve over 2,000 meals with over 300 volunteers.  It is a phenomenon to behold.  The video below is for the 2009 event.

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