Restorative Justice Practices
Restorative Justice Practices are an approach to crime and wrongdoing that engages victims, offenders and their affected communities. Restorative justice practices are about turning our attention and resources toward first recognizing harms experienced through crime and conflict, then creating the conditions for that harm to be repaired, with a focus on righting relationships which have been thrown out of balance through harmful actions. It is a philosophy rooted in the 5 R’s of Restorative Practices and can be applied in various ways throughout the spectrum of the justice system and school culture. For more detailed information and definitions please click here.
The result: Restorative justice is cost-effective, shows the highest rates of participant satisfaction (95%+ from victims, communities & offenders) and reduces the offender re-offense rate to 10%, down from a national average of 60% with conventional justice. Restorative Justice Practices emphasize the way in which crimes and conflict affect not only people, but also the communities in which they live.
Traditional Criminal Justice Asks
- What laws have been broken?
- Who did it?
- What punishment do they deserve?
Restorative Justice Asks
- Who has been hurt?
- What are their needs?
- Whose obligation is it to meet those needs?
~Adapted from Howard Zehr Little Book of Restorative Justice
The aim of Restorative Justice is not forgiveness or reconciliation, although these are not uncommon outcomes of restorative justice processes. Restorative Justice is about addressing the needs of the victim(s) and the community. Victims have a voice in restorative justice practices. While Restorative Justice is focused on repairing the harm experienced by the victim, it also provides a unique opportunity for offenders to take accountability, make things right and integrate back into their community with a renewed sense of responsibility and dignity. Engaging victims, offenders and their affected communities is done using processes that preserve the dignity, respect and safety of all involved.
Restorative Justice is not for everyone, although its power is evident when considering the variety of its manifestations in Colorado: in our police and probation departments, victim's services, principal’s offices, classrooms, court systems, families, playgrounds and neighborhoods. For those who do choose restorative justice practices, the choice is often transformative. Perhaps one of the best ways to learn how restorative justice practice are being used and how exactly they serve those involved is through the testimonials of those who have used it. On each of the menu tabs you will find a 4 to 6 minute mini-documentary giving real-life examples of how restorative justice is experienced by those who partake.
Restorative justice practices are facilitated by trained facilitators who take the time to prepare everyone for the restorative process before coming together. Facilitators and trainers can be found in the RJ Directory. Look for confirmation that the RJ Directory Member agrees to abide by the Facilitator Code of Conduct and Standards of Training and Practice.
For more information contact: Deb Witzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (720) 625-5964.
Created by Julie Speer Productions, "Sandy's Story" takes an emotional look at one family's story of healing and the forgiveness they gave the young man who's accidentally took the life of their son and brother.