Successful Completion of Traditional Restorative Justice Program

Jan 16, 2024   Print PDF

Related Practice: American Indian Law

This month marked a significant milestone for the Yakama Nation's Restorative Justice Deferred Prosecution Curriculum. The first candidate has successfully completed the Restorative Justice Deferred Prosecution Curriculum, a twelve-month program that resulted in the dismissal of their case with prejudice.

Restorative Justice in Indian Country occurs when a Tribal Nation exercises its sovereign authority to consider and/or develop alternative justice programs using traditional knowledge and wisdom. In January 2023, Derek Red Arrow Frank represented a tribal member in tribal court regarding a criminal charge. Recognizing that traditional forms of punishment, such as incarceration, do not always provide long-term solutions, Derek Red Arrow created a “first-of-its-kind” Restorative Justice Program. This program was supported by the Yakama Nation Tribal Court, the Yakama Nation Prosecutor's Office, and three Yakama Nation Elders.

On January 10th, 2024, the first candidate completed the program, and both the Yakama Tribal Court and the Tribal Prosecutor have expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the candidate and Derek Red Arrow for their work. They have also vowed to continue using the Treatment Plan as an alternative to typical incarceration for similar charges. They believe that the long-term well-being of the Yakama Nation's membership should be grounded in traditional knowledge and wisdom.