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What is restorative justice?

Restorative justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behaviour. It is best accomplished through cooperative processes that include all stakeholders.

Practices and programs reflecting restorative purposes will respond to crime by:

  1. identifying and taking steps to repair harm,  
  2. involving all  stakeholders, and
  3. transforming the traditional relationship between communities and their governments in responding to crime.

Some of the programmes and outcomes typically identified with restorative justice include:

 

Three principles form the foundation for restorative justice:
  1. Justice requires that we work to restore those who have been injured.
  2. Those most directly involved and affected by crime should have the opportunity to participate fully in the response if they wish.
  3. Government's role is to preserve a just public order, and the community's is to build and maintain a just peace.

Restorative programmes are characterized by four key values:
  1. Encounter:  Create opportunities for victims, offenders and community members who want to do so to meet to discuss the crime and its aftermath
  2. Amends:  Expect offenders to take steps to repair the harm they have caused
  3. Reintegration:  Seek to restore victims and offenders  to whole, contributing members of society
  4. Inclusion:  Provide opportunities for parties with a stake in a specific crime to participate in its resolution

Document Actions

Slide Shows

Changing Lenses
A profound metaphor for understanding justice (Howard Zehr).
 
Justice that Heals 
Talks about the wounds of crime and how to heal them.

Introductory Tutorials

20 MINUTE TUTORIAL
An introductory tutorial on the worldwide movement of restorative justice.

What is Restorative Justice?

Series of slide shows describing various aspects of restorative justice.

 

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Briefing Paper

This paper provides a  definition of restorative justice,  processes, and outcomes. The paper is available in English, French, Spanish, and Russian

Restorative Justice Learning Tool


provided by the Mennonite Central Committee. (requires flash player)