With the help of volunteer mediators, the goal is to negotiate a restitution agreement that makes things right between the victim and the offender.
Mediation and Restitution/Reconciliation Services (MARRS) is a program of the Memphis Leadership Foundation. The mission of MARRS program is to intervene in the lives of first and second-time juvenile offenders by providing mediation, restitution, character development, and positive outreach activities. Our vision is to change lives thereby empowering the youth we serve to become healthy members of our community and avoid further offenses.
We use a restorative justice approach to processing our cases with an emphasis on victim-offender mediation, bringing the victim, the juvenile offender and his/her parents face-to-face, along with a volunteer mediator who facilitates the mediation process. Our hope is to build self-esteem and instill a sense of justice and community within the offender that we hope will stay with them forever.
MARRS ensures that the victim is heard through their participation in this process, the offender successfully completes his/her restitution, and the offender is reconciled with the community at large by doing something positive and giving back to the person and/or community that he/she offended. All stakeholders benefit from participating in this restorative justice process that emphasizes victim-offender mediation. MARRS is a voluntary program is voluntary and is provided at no cost to the participants.
In essence, the combination of mediation and ministry lends to the success of the program. Our annual recidivism rate normally ranges from 13-15% but in 2003, Juvenile Court apprised MARRS with a recidivism rate of slightly more that 8%. This compares to local, state, and national statistics that document over 50% of juvenile offenders who do not complete some type of intervention program will eventually become habitual criminals.
Mediation and Restitution Reconciliation Services (MARRS) is a ministry of the Memphis Leadership Foundation (MLF) in partnership with Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC).