What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice is a community-based approach to dealing with crime, the effects of crime, and the prevention of crime. Most people who move through the current system of criminal justice do not find it a healing or satisfying experience. Victims often feel re-victimized and their need for justice unmet. People who offend and their families leave more broken and damaged. A Restorative Justice process operates from a belief that the path to justice lies in problem solving and healing rather than punitive isolation.
Principles of Restorative Justice
Principles of Restorative Justice say that when a person commits a crime:
- This is, first and foremost, an act against people and relationships; second, an act against the community and third, an act against the law.
- By committing the crime, the person creates an obligation to the victim, the community, and the state.
- When the person offending meets that obligation, they are taking responsibility for their actions, and begin to understand and value their relationship with other people, the community, and the law.
Is it Restorative? The Five Big Questions
All processes, programs, practices and/or activities can be restorative if they are values based, stakeholder focused and are grounded in the three goals of community protection, competency development and accountability. To help with evaluating if an intervention is consistent with Balanced and Restorative Justice, ask the following five questions:
- Does the process, program, practice or activity show equal concern for victims, offenders and community?
- Does it encourage offender accountability to repair the harm caused to the victim, family and community and focus on the repair rather than on punishment?
- Does it provide opportunities for direct and/or indirect dialogue between the stakeholders?
- Does it encourage collaboration, power-sharing and re-integration rather than isolation or silo building?
- Does it involve and empower the affected community to increase its capacity to recognize and respond to harm and crime for all community members?
“YES!” means that all 5 critical elements of Restorative Justice are in place.
Do you want to learn more about Restorative Justice principles
and what is happening locally?
Visit www.RJusticeSBC.pbwiki.com for more information!