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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 victims and offenders a chance to hear each other out.

  • Restorative Justice recognizes that crime hurts everyone - victims, offenders and 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

3 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.
Court Justice Restorative Justice

Punitive, state-centered, impersonal

Victim centered, personal and seeks to repair harm

Discourages offender Empathy and Responsibility

Connect offenders with the harm of their actions and helps them to take responsibility for the harm

Focused on punishing the offender

Focused on victim and healing

What laws were broken?

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 offender is pitted against state, and rules and intentions outweigh outcomes

The process of justice involves victims, offenders, and community in an effort to identify obligations and solutions, maximizing the exchange of information (dialogue, mutual agreement) between them

Who did it?

What are the needs of all involved?

Victim-Initiated Restorative Practices

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