what is restorative justice?
restorative justice is a philosophy that:
- Focuses on the harms of crime rather than on the laws that have been broken;
- Views crime as a violation of relationships that creates obligations for a person who has harmed another to make things right;
- Provides an opportunity for the person who caused harm and those harmed to resolve conflict by involving all in a safe and respectful dialogue;
- Works toward the restoration and healing of those harmed, by empowering them and responding to their needs;
- Supports those who caused harm by encouraging them to understand, accept and carry out their obligations to take responsibility for their actions and to make amends for whatever harm was caused;
- Promotes collaboration and reintegration, rather than coercion and exclusion.
restorative justice principles:
- Crime is injury;
- Crime hurts individual victims, communities and offenders, and creates an obligation to make things right;
- Those most affected by the crime should be a part of the response to the crime;
- The victim's perspective is central to deciding how to repair the harm caused by the crime;
- Accountability for the offender means accepting responsibility and acting to repair the harm done;
- The community is responsible for the well-being of all its members, including both victim and offender;
- All human beings have dignity and worth;
- Restoration - repairing the harm and rebuilding relationships in the community is the primary goal of restorative justice;
- Results are measured by how much repair was done rather than by how much punishment was inflicted;
- Crime control cannot be achieved without active involvement of the community.
For further reading & discussion questions check out this excellent resource:
"Restorative Justice: what are we talking about?"