Sage Advice from Civil Demand Experts By Lohra Miller, Turning Point Justice CEO
The May 2014 issue of Loss Prevention magazine featured a great article by Natt Reifler, partner at Palmer, Reifler and Associates, on the growing momentum behind restorative justice solutions to shoplifting, available for download here. For example, the state of Alabama has provided legislative findings that note:
“…Shoplifting and employee theft have reached near epidemic proportions and … efforts to control these criminal offenses through traditional methods have proven unsuccessful and costly to both the general public and to business.
The existing criminal justice system is overcrowded and burdened thereby causing unreasonable delay. Continual use of the criminal justice system for shoplifting … offenses creates a further strain on an already overcrowded criminal docket, thereby requiring more tax revenue to pay for a continual expansion of the criminal justice system.
…The Legislature deems that the utilization of an alternative form of deterrence to eliminate shoplifting … which avoids the stigma of a criminal record is more desirable than the present system.”
Spotlighting the background behind this growing trend, Mr. Reifler offers valuable advice to retailers evaluating restorative justice solutions, cautioning, “Particular attention should be paid to the implementation efforts,” and in “verifying the support of local prosecuting authorities.” At TPJ, we applaud Mr. Reifler’s attention to these crucial elements required for effective restorative justice solutions.
The TPJ Difference
On Mr. Reifler’s first point – paying attention to implementation – we are proud that TPJ restorative justice solutions feature a number of elements designed to ensure retailer and community success.
First of all, our cloud-based incident processing solutions were created by former prosecutors and justice professionals to ensure compliance with all local laws, and we wholeheartedly agree that retailers should take care to confirm legal compliance when evaluating restorative justice solutions. Another important differentiator is that TPJ is the only restorative justice solution company chosen by the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) as its restorative justice partner for providing the proven NASP shoplifting education programs trusted by justice systems in 49 states.
We also fully agree with Mr. Reifler on the need for support among prosecutors and law enforcement. Shoplifting is a community problem, and to fix it effectively, all interests must be aligned for success. In order to ensure all parties count as partners in stopping shoplifting, TPJ and retailers work closely with local law enforcement and prosecutors in each new community.
The Road Ahead
As an experienced retail industry legal professional, Mr. Reifler also encourages retailers to remember that even getting where we are today in the industry was a long road, and change will take time. Shoplifting won’t be stopped overnight, but together, we continue to make progress while working on solutions that complement existing systems.