What is Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice seeks to create just outcomes by repairing the harm caused by crime and conflict. It involves the participation of those responsible for the harm and those impacted directly and indirectly in finding a solution that repairs and promotes trust and harmony. It is a collaborative and inclusive process that typically addresses the needs of the person impacted and holds the person responsible, meaningfully accountable for their actions. In this approach, crime is understood not only as breaking the law, but as a violation of people and relationships and a disruption of the peace in a community. It encourages those responsible for causing harm to take responsibility for their behaviour in a meaningful way, to gain insight into the effects of their behaviour on others, to change their behaviour, and to take steps toward reintegration into the community. Those impacted, meanwhile, are granted a chance to ask questions, to receive answers, to gain understanding, to explain the impact the event has had on them, and to contribute to the outcome of the process.
Finally, the process enables the community to reinforce its values and expectations, to understand the underlying causes of crime, and to determine what can be done to repair the damage caused by crime. Restorative justice serves to promote community well-being and to reduce the future incidence of crime.
Each situation is unique, and the process may be adapted to best suit the needs of those involved. In general, however, there are four stages to the process:
Benefits of Restorative Justice
The program provides:
• An opportunity for both parties to gain perspective of incident.
• An opportunity for both parties to contribute to the outcome.
• An opportunity for both parties to restore or establish bonds.
• An opportunity for both parties to achieve closure and healing.
• The opportunity for the person responsible not have a criminal record
from this incident.
• The community a statistically lower chance of some participants from
• A more timely manor to work through the difficult, rather than going
through the court system.
• A cost effective resolution.