Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice – A Healing Option

“Steven,” the victim, reports stolen goods to the police. A teenage girl is arrested for the crime. The court determines this case is appropriate for a Restorative Justice meeting.

Steven faces “Sophie,” the juvenile offender. He tells Sophie how her actions affect him, his family and his business.

Sophie learns how by stealing garden tools from Steven’s garage to sell at a pawn shop, his landscaping business is negatively impacted.

She also hears how Steven’s family’s sense of security diminished; the children are scared to go to sleep at night, afraid someone might break into the house.

With the help of a trained facilitator, the participants gather for a peaceful, open discussion:

  • Sophie takes responsibility for her crime.
  • Steven no longer feels he is targeted and sees the teen as a human being who made a bad choice.
  • The parties agree to a plan for Sophie to repair the harm she’s caused.
  • The community benefits by saving the funds that would have been used to take the case to court and rebuilding public safety.

This is RESTORATIVE JUSTICE in practice.

Retribution vs Restoration

Restorative Justice is An Effective Alternative

Rather than punish and incarcerate young offenders, Restorative Justice practices focus on RESPONSBILITY, RESTORATION, RESTITUTION and RECONCILIATION – a chance to make things right.

  • The Restorative Justice process:
  • Holds offenders responsible for their actions
  • Gives victims the opportunity to face the lawbreaker; the offender hears how his/her actions impacted others
  • Empowers communities to gain a better understanding of the root causes of crime, allows members of the community to express and reduce their fears and work together to identify solutions.

Because relationships are at the heart of Restorative Justice,
the process enables everyone affected by the crime
to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

How can Schools benefit from Restorative Justice practices?

Restorative Justice practices keep students in school, instead of removing them for suspension or expulsion.

Practices include:

Circles – Students sit in a circle, using a “talking piece” to take turns speaking in a safe and respectful setting. When participants sit in a circle, they experience a greater sense of community.

Peer Mediation – This is a youth-centered program. Students hear cases of minor delinquent acts or school offenses. Students are empowered to take leadership roles and learn problem solving skills.

Mediation and Conferencing – Mediation in school resolves disputes between two students. Conferencing opens the process to other students, staff and teachers. Both models are facilitated by trained mediators. Affected parties come together to develop an appropriate, peaceful response to the conflict.

What does the Community gain from Restorative Justice practices?

An alternative to punishing and incarcerating young offenders, these practices encourage lawbreakers to take positive steps to reintegrate into society. Involvement in an over-burdened criminal justice system does not encourage healing nor ensures public safety.

The cycle of violence on society can be reduced when citizens understand the underlying causes of juvenile offenses (from poverty and joblessness to drug abuse and ongoing exposure to violence) and work together to identify solutions.

When community members participate in the Restorative Justice process, they help
restore trust, demonstrate empathy for others and assist in rebuilding public safety.

The balance of trust, rebuilding relationships and community safety begins with restoration. When the victim, the offender and members of the community come together in the Restorative Justice process, the healing beings, as each other sees the other as human beings.

We encourage schools and organizations serving at-risk youth to contact us for more information on Restorative Justice programs.


Simply send an email, including your name and mailing address, along with your request, to: