Restorative Justice in Indian Country

Like standard drug courts, the Penobscot Nation's Healing to Wellness Court refers people facing drug-related criminal charges to substance abuse counseling as an alternative to punishment. But this court and other tribal wellness courts are steeped in indigenous customs, blended with restorative justice approaches, to emphasize rehabilitation based on trust, support, and native traditions. The threat of punishment looms over participants should they fail in their counseling program. But no one has been jailed in the past two years in the Penobscot program.

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