Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational.
To see how this approach is changing all aspects of criminal justice, visit the rooms above, the map to the right and the blog below.
The sociological imagination: Restorative justice
from the article by Ariel Hsieh:
The concept and practice of Restorative Justice have been around for centuries and focuses on addressing the needs of victims, offenders, and the greater community in response to harmful or criminal acts. In contrast to the traditional American legal system, referred to henceforth as conventional justice, restorative justice allows a framework for victims and/or communities to be directly involved in the reparative process, encouraging offenders to take responsibility for their actions by seeing how their actions have harmed others. In recent decades, we have seen the manifestation of the mentality that we as a society should be “tough on crime,” particularly on the causes of crime, in our attitudes regarding crime prevention.
However, consistently high rates of recidivism and reconvictions through the conventional system suggests a particularly frightening conclusion: that the criminal justice system itself contributes to crime in modern societies. While aspects of criminal justice such as inadequate rehabilitation programs and insufficient resettlement resources for life post-incarceration have been blamed for contributing to crime among convicted criminals, there is another more fundamental explanation that is rooted in the way in which society frames the connections between victims, criminals, and society.
'We shook hands... I got upset and started crying. Then Glenn broke down'
from the article on No Offence!:
When a passing cyclist intervened as a drunk racially abused two Asian women in Nottingham city centre, it changed both men's lives.
Shad Ali, punched to the ground and kicked in the face, ended up in an operating theatre. His assailant Glenn Jackson, eventually snared by CCTV footage, ended up in prison.
Almost seven years on they met at HMP Featherstone, Wolverhampton, for the first time. They embraced and wept before sitting down to share their feelings about the incident and its aftermath.
Circles: Healing through restorative justice
from the article by Laurel J. Felt:
“Who or what inspires you to be your best self?”
This is hardly the question that most Angelenos would ask at 9:30 in the morning on a gray, rainy Saturday. But for the 80+ adults and youth who gathered on March 2 at Mendez Learning Center in Boyle Heights, this introspective query kicked off “Circles,” a rich, daylong exploration of Restorative Justice.
Restorative justice for everyone: An innovative program and case study from Turners Falls High School in Massachusetts
from the article by David Bulley and Thomas Osborn:
Restorative Justice generally exists as an alternative to traditional discipline. In most schools a student who acts out will be referred to the assistant principal or to the dean of students who then makes a determination: Is the student a candidate for restorative justice or should they be disciplined the traditional way of detentions or suspensions? Often this includes a choice by the student. In fact, as part of most restorative conferences, the perpetrator is informed that participation is voluntary and that at any time they can opt out and subject themselves to traditional justice. One problem with this system is that too many students welcome an out of school suspension.
Restorative justice – a third way
from the interview with Chris Marshall:
Crime and punishment—few issues generate more heated debate. How we deal with criminals is a particularly contested area. Should we lock them up and throw away the key? Or should we attempt some kind of rehabilitation?
Sign up for free monthly updates on restorative developments around the world.
Submit an article for publication on RJ Online.
These position descriptions are taken verbatim from announcements received by RJ Online editors in the past month.