skip to content
Primary navigation

Restorative Justice

What is Restorative Justice?

"Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in an offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations, in order to heal and put things right as possible."
-Howard Zehr

After a crime, a victim's life is forever changed regardless of the type of crime that occurred. Often our responses to these events are to seek revenge or make the other person pay for their actions in an attempt to find justice. Rarely do those attempts meet our needs for closure or peace of mind. Another choice to these feelings is a restorative approach to justice that allows both those who have been harmed and those who have done harm a chance to hear each other out.

  • Restorative Justice recognizes that crime hurts everyone - those who have been harmed, those who have done harm, and the community. It creates an obligation to make things right.
  • The foundation of restorative justice is genuine, accountability based on 3 R's: respect, responsibility and relationships.

Three Key Restorative Justice Concepts

  • Crime is a violation of people and relationships.
  • Crime creates harms, needs and obligations.
  • Individuals most affected should be meaningfully included and empowered.

Comparison of Justice

Court Justice Restorative Justice

Punitive, state-centered, impersonal

Victim-centered, personal, and seeks to repair harm

Discourages empathy and responsibility toward those who have done harm

Connects those who have done harm with the impact of their actions to help them take responsibility

Focused on punishing those who have done harm

Focused on victim and healing

Asks, what laws were broken?

Asks, who has been harmed by this event?

Crime is essentially a violation of the law and the state is the victim

Crime is essentially a violation of (harm to) people and relationships. Such violations result in obligations

The aim of justice is to establish blame (guilt) and administer pain (punishment)

The aim of justice is to identify obligations and to promote restoration and/or healing

The process of justice is a conflict between adversaries in which those who have done harm are pitted against the state and rules and intentions outweigh outcomes

The process of justice involves everyone; those who have been harmed, those who have done harm, and the community, in an effort to identify obligations and solutions, maximizing the exchange of information (dialogue, mutual agreement) between them

Asks, who did it?

Asks, what are the needs of all involved?

2024 Minnesota Restorative Services Directory

The Minnesota Restorative Services Directory is a free resource, updated annually. It is designed to connect people who provide restorative services with those seeking them. If you or your organization would like to be included in future versions, please contact us at:

Minnesota Restorative Services Directory

More Information

Continue to the Victim-Initiated Restorative Practices page to learn more.

back to top