RJ in the Criminal Justice System

Beginning in the 1980’s, criminal justice reform efforts in the US have looked to Restorative Justice to:

  • better meet the needs of victims
  • reduce recidivism
  • improve public safety and
  • save on the rising cost of youth detention and mass incarceration

While some RJ programs focus solely on youthful offenders, other programs include adult offenders who have committed the most serious crimes.

In our current, retributive justice system acts of wrongdoing (e.g. theft, vandalism, assault) are viewed as crimes against the State (or other authority). A judge determines the appropriate punishment for the offender/perpetrator in keeping with the law. Victims, and their desire for answers and need for restitution, are not central to this process. In a restorative justice system, victims are at the center of the process. Those who have harmed someone are more directly accountable to the harmed party and participate in developing/implementing plans to best repair that harm. In addition, the community plays a role in restorative justice systems, helping to support reparation plans and to safely reintegrate those who caused harm back into the community.

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Valeria Jimenez – Case Manager & Outreach Coordinator

Valeria is the Outreach & Program Coordinator for Mountain Mediation Center, administering the landlord-tenant eviction diversion program in partnership with local organizations to help prevent and resolve landlord-tenant disputes. She specializes in public outreach, collaborating with agencies and community partners, and connecting communities to resources.

During her time at the Utah State Courts, she managed statewide community outreach initiatives, education of court programs to the public, and was chosen as a recipient of the Excellence in Advancing Justice award. Beyond her professional capacity, Valeria volunteers with We Rise First-Generation Scholars, a program of the Wasatch Education Foundation. Valeria is passionate about bringing young Latino leaders together and building community in the professional, academic, and civic space. She has plans to continue her education by earning a J.D. in the near future.

Kris Campbell – Program Director

Kris is the Program Director for Mountain Mediation Center, overseeing MMC’s programs, fundraiser, and rapidly expanding training program, and coordinating our dedicated volunteers. He is passionate about bringing people together to work through conflicts productively. Kris began his work with MMC as a volunteer in 2020, facilitating Community Conversations and leading training sessions to build understanding, connection, and community along the Wasatch Back. In 2023, Kris served as MMC’s Board Chair. 

When he’s not at work, Kris often spends time with his kids, serving the community through Rotary, Braver Angels, and the Park City LGBTQ+ Taskforce, or exploring area trails.

Gretchen Lee – Executive Director

Gretchen is an attorney and a court-qualified mediator with the Utah Courts. She has an extensive government relations background- having worked as an attorney for the Utah State Legislature as well as the private and nonprofit sectors drafting resolutions, initiatives and other policy documents. Gretchen serves on the Board of Trustees for the Utah Council of Conflict Resolution and is a member of the Restorative Justice Collaborative of Utah. She graduated from Colgate University and Emory School of Law.