What is Restorative Justice?

June 19 – 21, 2013

Restorative Justice is an age-old practice used throughout the world, by many different cultures and societies that focus on addressing the needs of the victims, offenders, and the community.

What sets Restorative Justice apart from the traditional American legal system is that it gives the victim and community direct involvement in the reparative process and encourages offenders to take responsibility for their actions.

Many people do not realize that they have likely experienced the Restorative Justice process in their lives. From the little leaguer who breaks a neighbor’s window and apologizes and pays for the damage, to students performing community clean-up after a school prank, Restorative Justice takes on many forms, but is quite common in everyday life.

Though there is not one set blueprint for how to employ Restorative Justice, often the process involves four key steps:

  1. An encounter of the parties involved in the offense (victim, community, offender)
  2. The amending process, where the group works to help repair the harm caused
  3. Restoration of the victim and the offender
  4. Resolution and action outcome

Restorative Justice is not:

  • Only designed for addressing minor offenses, and has been found at times to have the greatest lasting impact on more severe crimes
  • Employed solely in a community neighborhood format – schools, work places and religious institutions also use Restorative Justice
  • An exact science or blueprint – rather, it can be found in many settings and is more so a set of principals and a philosophy of focusing on the victim, the offender, and the community impacted by the crime
  • A complete replacement for the current justice system – in order for Restorative Justice to work, those involved must be willing to confront the offense and work together to repair the damage. If all participants are not open to this idea, Restorative Justice cannot work.

To learn more about the conference, visit www.restorativejusticenow.org, email restorativejusticetoledo@gmail.com, or call 419-277-0568.


Gina Paris
Carmel Hall 149

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