- is a different way of thinking about crime and our response to crime
- focuses on repairing the harm caused by crime and reducing future harm through crime prevention
- requires offenders to take responsibility for their actions and for the harm they have caused
- seeks redress for victims, recompense by offenders and reintegration of both within the community
- requires a cooperative effort by communities and the government
Howard Zehr’s definition:
Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those
who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations, in order to heal and put things right as possible.
The Little Book of Restorative Justice, 2002, p. 37
Restorative Justice & The Peace Alliance
The Peace Alliance recognizes the exponentially growing movement of Restorative Justice to be one of the key systemic transformations occurring right now in the United States. It is a powerful on-the-ground response to the many issues our country faces pertaining to justice. Currently, we house over 1/3 of the world’s prisoners while we comprise less than 1/5 of the world’s population. The Prison Industrial Complex has vested interests to the tune of billions in profit every year in keeping prisons full. Corporate for-profit prison giants GEO Group and Correctional Corp. of America have led charges on state-run systems and are attempting to corporatize all aspects of criminal justice, including the profiteeering of health care services within the system. Our country has created a school-to-prison pipeline in its zero-tolerance policies and it emprisons one of ten young black males. It is estimated that half of the prison population has mental illness. Needless to say, a movement to respond to these issues and more is at hand. And then some.
The Peace Alliance strives to support the mobilization of this movement, its momentum building, to create advocacy and political will in systemic changemaking, and to provide educational opportunities that leverage an already-strong Peace Alliance network in supporting state-by-state efforts towards implementing Restorative Justice.
Four Phases of the Justice System
Phase 1: Prevention (Universal Population)
Spiritual Roots of RJ: Published on Nov 3, 2013
This informative documentary looks at restorative justice through the eyes of victims, offenders, judges, lawyers, First Nations elders and scholars of all different faiths.
Smashing the Pipeline Aired: 06/19/15
A growing number of restorative justice practitioners are determined to smash the “School to Prison Pipeline” that crams America’s jails and ruins millions of lives. Kids are learning respectful, accountable, remarkably wise ways of relating with others, making their personal relationships and communities stronger and safer.
Oprah and Thich Naht Hanh Excerpt – Powerful Published on May 12, 2013
Truly insightful, deep and powerful. Oprah Winfrey via her incredible OWN network, talks to Thich Nhat Hanh about becoming a monk, meeting Martin Luther King Jr; The powers of mindfulness, insight, concentration and compassion, How to transform warring parties and how to deeply transform relationships.
WALK A MILE IN HIS SHOES – Empathy Wake Up Call Uploaded on Nov 9, 2010
Simply a beautiful video.
Phase 2: Intervention/Prevention (Indicated-Selected-High Risk)
Denver, CO: Curbing conflicts in high school. Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan looks at a new approach to discipline that replaces suspensions with conversations. Watch.
Restorative Resources – Restorative Justice in Schools CA Published on Apr 19, 2013
Justice For and By Youth Aired: 03/14/14
Youth Courts and Accountability Circles are one of the most powerfully effective parts of the emerging Restorative Justice movement. Teenage offenders are challenged by juries of their peers, and by caring yet insistent adult volunteers, to make things right for their victims and their community
Colorado high school replaces punishment with ‘talking circles’- Published on Feb 20, 2014
At Hinkley High School in Aurora, Colo., students, parents and administration are meeting face-to-face to resolve student conflict with conversation. The number of physical altercations has taken a nosedive as this new type of disciplinary action, called “restorative justice,” replaces suspension. Hari Sreenivasan has the story. Watch.
Phase 3: Incarceration
Meeting with a Killer 4 parts -Uploaded on Jul 7, 2011 – Family members of a young woman that was murdered meets with one of the young men who killed her – now incarcerated & remorseful.
Phase 4: Reintegration/Re-entry
The Poetic Justice Project is a nonprofit program based in Santa Maria, CA which has as its mission the advancement of social justice by engaging formerly incarcerated people in original theater examining crime, punishment, and redemption. Watch.
Restorative Justice Resources
http://www.fullcirclerj.net/ Full Circle Restorative Justice (Colorado based)
http://www.rjcolorado.org/ Restorative Justice, Colorado
New York Times: Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?
SB 2078 MA RJ Bill Current Report (Spring 2014) from the Restorative Justice Coalition of Massachusetts