Inside LADA

October 6, 2021: Hate Crimes Unit to Launch Restorative Justice Project

With a $200,000 federal grant, LADA will launch an innovative two-year, post-conviction pilot project that aims to curtail hate crimes and xenophobia at a time when such crimes have surged.

"Whether it's the AAPI, Jewish or LGBTQ community, this is a cutting-edge approach to protecting specific communities being targeted with crimes of violence or crimes of property," said Deputy District Attorney Paul Kim, who secured the funds from the Department of Homeland Security.

Typically, people on probation for committing a hate crime are sentenced to generic community service or Caltrans work.

“Picking up trash will not prevent people from biased-animated recidivism in the hate crime area,” said Kim, who handles cases in the Hate Crimes Unit, within the Organized Crime Division.

Called the Reconciliation Education and Counseling Crimes of Hate Program (REACCH), the project will provide people on probation with counseling, anti-bias education and victim reconciliation in a controlled setting.

The root cause of the bias will be examined and addressed. Then the participants will do community service with the targeted victim community.

The long-term goal is to develop a permanent restorative justice probationary model based on a proven clinical methodology. The program pairs an anti-bias educational curriculum with mental health professionals and victim reconciliation. It could be expanded to include most of the more than 50 felony cases filed annually by the Hate Crimes Unit.

“This is a more meaningful probation sentence,” Kim said, “that hopefully will prevent bias-motivated recidivism among program participants.”