A needle for the restorative justice compass
Oct 13, 2011
Injustice occurs when people are turned into objects through relationships. Justice occurs when people are honored through relationships.
So for Vaandering, what is needed in restorative justice is a concerned effort to remind us all of the following:
- Justice is a call to recognize that all humans are worthy and to be honored.
- Injustice occurs when people are objectified.
- The term restorative justice becomes meaningful when it refers to restoring people to being honored as human.
So it is crucial that the terms “restorative” and “justice” be kept and paired together, but with a broader understanding of justice. Without this pairing, the field is functioning as a compass without a needle.
In practice, she argues that continually asking oneself these three questions can keep us on track:
- Am I measuring (i.e. judging, objectifying)?
- Am I honoring?
- What message am I sending?
She suggests a definition of restorative justice:
“RJ acknowledges justice as honoring the inherent worth of all and is enacted through relationship. As such it affects all social structures. When something occurs that undermines the well-being of some, RJ provides a space for dialogue so that the humanity of all involved and affected can be restored and each person can once again become a fully contributing member of the community of which they are a part.” (p. 324)
With this “lens,” restorative justice is not something from the outside, as a solution for others. It is a way of being for all of us.