Restorative justice is a process for achieving justice that helps to restore the dignity of all people involved in a wrong-doing and puts into place a framework for all people involved to have the opportunity to share in their mutual human development.
Restorative justice is most often associated with criminal justice as a framework for rethinking crime and punishment. The foundational principle of restorative justice is the care and respect of humanity. This means that when a wrong or harm has taken place, the respect for all individuals guides the process for making right the wrong.
In considering how to right the wrong, a restorative justice process takes into consideration the needs of the person or persons who was harmed, the individual(s) who created the harm and their communities. The needs of the harmed person(s) are at the center of the justice process. The person who caused the harm is held accountable and responsible for righting the wrong and seeking opportunities for restitution. And the needs of the community are also included in the justice process. Restorative justice acknowledges that community members have roles to play in ensuring justice, and they may also have responsibilities to the individual who was harmed, the individual who created the harm and to themselves. Read this article to learn more about the needs of each group.
Three principles shape a restorative justice process: