Restorative Justice is a values-based approach to community building, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. It can be thought of as a lens through which we view how we interact with each other. Restorative Justice is rooted in ancient traditions and adheres to a set of guiding principles and values. It is used in schools, the justice system, organizations and businesses, neighborhoods, communities, and families, to build and restore relationships, repair harm, and create more just and equitable environments.
Restorative Justice is NOT:
- Mediation; in a restorative process the wrongdoer must admit responsibility for causing harm
- A particular “program” or a packaged set of “tools”
- A replacement for the legal system or an alternative to prison
- “Soft” on perpetrators of crime; in fact, participants in RJ processes often report it is more difficult than being receiving sentencing from a judge
- Focused on forgiveness, though harmed parties may choose to forgive