Balanced and Restorative Justice (B.A.R.J.) was introduced in 1995 through state legislation as a new philosophical framework which changed how juvenile justice was done. B.A.R.J. states that the purpose of the Juvenile Justice System is "to provide for children committing delinquent acts programs of supervision, care, and rehabilitation which provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed, and the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible and productive members of the community."
The public has a right to a safe and secure community. The level of restrictions on an offender shall be matched to the level of risk. Adults and organizations in the community can take an active role in juvenile crime prevention.
Juvenile offenders who come within the jurisdiction of the court shall leave the juvenile justice system more capable of being productive and responsible members of their community.
Victims shall have the opportunity to be active participants in the juvenile justice process. Offenders shall take responsibility for making reparation, restitution, and participating in structures activities that benefit the community.
In 2010 Pennsylvania initiated the Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (J.J.S.E.S.) to enhance B.A.R.J. principles and embrace evidence based practices by using research to identify "what works" in juvenile justice. This strategy is used to objectively create and update policy and procedures based on data and outcomes.
Evidence Based Practices (E.B.P.) means applying what we know in terms of research to what we do in our work with youth, families, and communities. It is the progressive, organizational use of direct, current, scientific evidence to guide and inform efficient and effective services.