Restorative Justice

05 Jul, 2012

Justice Storytelling Quilt, Meaghan O’Shea and the Church Council on Justice and Corrections (2005)

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is a non-adversarial, non-retributive approach to justice that emphasizes healing in victims, meaningful accountability of offenders and the involvement of citizens in creating healthier and safer communities. Crime is a violation of people and relationships. Restorative Justice works to repair the damage and promote healing and growth—important tools in finding more peaceful and collaborative ways of resolving conflicts in our society. Restorative Justice strives to provide support and opportunities for voluntary participation and communication between those affected—victims, offenders and community—to encourage accountability, reparation and movement towards understanding, feelings of satisfaction, healing and closure. Communitas’programs are all based on restorative justice principles.

Two Different Views

Criminal Justice

  • Crime is a violation of the law and the state
  • Violations create guilt
  • Justice requires the state to determine blame (guilt) and impose pain (punishment)
  • Central Focus: offenders getting what they deserve

Restorative Justice

  • Crime is a violation of people and relationships
  • Violations create obligations
  • Justice involves victims, offenders, and community members in an effort to put things right
  • Central focus: victim needs and offender responsibility for repairing harm.

Three Different Questions

Criminal Justice

  • What laws have been broken?
  • Who did it?
  • What do they deserve?

Restorative Justice

  • Who has been hurt?
  • What are their needs?
  • Whose obligations are these?

Source:  The Little Book of Restorative Justice, Howard Zehr, Good Books, Intercourse, PA.  2002 p. 21.

La Justice Restaurative

What is Restorative Process?

A restorative process is any process in which the victim and the offender and, where appropriate, any other individuals or community members affected by a crime, participate together actively in the resolution of matters arising from the crime, generally with the help of a facilitator.

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