What is Restorative Justice (RJ)?
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a set of principles, a philosophy, focused on mending broken relationships to create a better future. It is a fundamental shift in the way that we think about and do justice, in the way that we do community. What happens when we stop thinking about justice as “an eye for an eye”? What happens when we think about harm in ways that don’t involve retaliation or vengeance, but healing and transformation?
Our current justice asks three questions when a harm has been committed:
1. What law was broken?
2. Who broke it?
3. What punishment is warranted?
1. Who was harmed?
2. What are the needs and responsibilities of all effected?
3. How do all affected parties together address needs and repair harm?
Restorative Justice is rooted in indigenous practices. It is reparative, inclusive, and balanced. It can be practiced anywhere that we make human connections.
2007 University of Wisconsin study (http://www.bcrjp.org/resources/rj-links)
- After 5 years
- almost 49% decrease in violent juvenile offenses
- 45% decrease in juvenile arrest rates
New Zealand (http://www.cyf.govt.nz/documents/mike_doolan_presentation.pdf)
- 70% juvenile offenders no longer in contact with justice system
Sonoma County (juvenile) (http://www.restorativeresources.org/school-programs.html)
- 10% rate re-offending
- 90% plan completion rates
- >90% victim satisfaction with process
San Bruno (adult) (http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/27/2/143)
- 6% decrease in violent re-offending after 16 wks participation
RJOY (juvenile) (http://www.realjustice.org/pdf/IIRP-Improving-School-Climate.pdf)
- >75% decrease in suspensions
- 100% decrease violence and expulsions