A Restorative Justice Yardstick

Do victims experience justice?

  • Do victims have sufficient opportunities to tell their truth to relevant listeners?
  • Do victims receive needed compensation or restitution?
  • Is the injustice adequately acknowledged?
  • Are victims sufficiently protected against further violation?
  • Does the outcome adequately reflect the severity of the offense?
  • Do victims receive adequate information about the crime, the offender, and the legal process?
  • Do victims have a voice in the legal process?
  • Is the experience of justice adequately public?
  • Do victims receive adequate support from others?
  • Do victims’ families receive adequate assistance and support?
  • Are other needs—material, psychological, and spiritual—being addressed?

Do offenders experience justice?

  • Are offenders encouraged to understand and take responsibility for what they have done?
  • Are misattributions challenged?
  • Are offenders given encouragement and opportunities to make things right?
  • Are offenders given opportunities to participate in the process?
  • Are offenders encouraged to change their behavior?
  • Is there a mechanism for monitoring or verifying changes?
  • Are offenders’ needs being addressed?
  • Do offenders’ families receive support and assistance?

Is the victim-offender relationship addressed?

  • Is there an opportunity for victims and offenders to meet, if appropriate?
  • Is there an opportunity for victims and offenders to exchange information about the event and about one another?

Are community concerns being taken into account?

  • Is the process and the outcome sufficiently public?
  • Is community protection being addressed?
  • Is there a need for restitution or a symbolic action for the community?
  • Is the community represented in some way in the legal process?

Is the future addressed?

  • Is there provision for solving the problems that led to this event?
  • Is there provision for solving problems caused by this event?
  • Have future intentions been addressed?
  • Are there provisions for monitoring and verifying outcomes and for problem solving?
Source: Howard Zehr, Changing Lenses
(Scottsdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press,1990).