Central to restorative justice theory is the understanding that while crime and violations may on one hand break rules and laws, they more fundamentally harm people and relationships. In practice, restorative justice is a response to a harmful incident, that includes those affected in efforts to make things right by to addressing the needs of all.
Restorative justice holds that a critique of traditional punishment (i.e. “pain for pain”) does not mean being “soft” on harmful behavior. Rather the paradigm suggests that we seek meaningful accountability – accountability that facilitates an awareness of the natural intra and inter-personal consequences that occur when we cause harm to others while emphasizing the fulfillment of the obligation to repair harm.
Restorative justice often involves processes of direct or indirect communication among participants, such as conferencing, forums, peacemaking circles, and victim-offender dialogue. Many restorative justice processes involve the use of an impartial, trained facilitator whose role is to guide the process according to the principles of restorative justice.
Restorative justice principles are a central influence on Just Outcomes’ approach. We advocate the development of programs, policies, and practices that directly and meaningfully address the needs of those impacted by harm. Dialogue processes should be accessible as an optional justice response along with the care, discretion, and training whenever such processes are to be considered.
To learn more about restorative justice visit our resource section.