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Restorative Justice Is Healing Justice

Updated on April 3, 2011

What We Have Is Adversarial Justice

"The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law, generally adopted in common law countries, that relies on the skill of each advocate representing his or her party's positions and involves an impartial person, usually a jury, trying to determine the truth of the case." Wikipedia

Until the last ten years I had gotten most of my knowledge of the courts from the ubiquitous Law and Order as well as other programs. Oh, yes and there was the OJ trial. We have seen bad guys get off and good guys go to jail. We believe, however, that except for rare occasions, these dramatic license cases, the system works as an agent for justice for the victim. So did I.

However after serving on a jury and as a Death Penalty Mitigation Specialist, I know that isn't the case. And it really can't be. Look at the very accurate definition above. You have one person working for this thing called 'the people' whose job is to convict and another working for the defendant whose job it is to get an acquittal. Both of them have their job and their reputations, careers and income are based on their doing just what their role is telling them to do. Now, while it is still better than many systems in the world, do you really think that it is going to be a vehicle to find the truth? No, it can't be. The only people whose job that is are the jury and they can only get information from people whose job it is to convict or get an acquittal.

Restorative Justice VS Adversarial Justice

Restorative Justice VS Adversarial Justice
Restorative Justice VS Adversarial Justice

What We Need Is Restorative Justice

The current system sees the state and the injured party. If you are mugged, the guilty person has committed a crime against the state and only incidentally against you. Any stolen property, including money, is held by the state until it is finished with it. You may never get it back. You might be called as a witness, if it behooves the state or 'the people' to have a trial. You might get some sympathetic words from the prosecutor, or you may not. If you want to confront your mugger, you do not have the option. You may get to do a victim's impact statement, if the state sees fit to have a trial and not settle.

Restorative justice focuses on the victim and the impact on the community. These are not abstracts like the people, or even the state. There is more of an impetus to find the truth of what happened.

Eleanor Roosevelt

"When will our conscience grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"

Madge Michaels-Cyrus

"Nonviolence doesn't always work -- but violence never does."

The Circle of Restorative Justice

The Circle of Restorative Justice
The Circle of Restorative Justice


"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it stands than to anything on which it is poured."

How Restorative Justice Is Different

First you must know that Restorative Justice is not a Kumbaya love circle. It is not meant to be easy on the guilty. However, it is victim and community focused. There are no abstracts, "the people". Yes, violent and non violent people are still put away, sometimes for life. This isn't a system where a form of 'community service' for violent crimes. It is not a way for the wealthy to buy freedom by re-embursing families.

But the victim is part of the process and has the right to demand a confrontation with the guilty and on the victims' time. If you are the victim of the mugging up above, you could confront the mugger on your timetable. You could ask for other kinds of reparations that you might need. The crime was against you primarily, the community secondarily, but not 'the state'.

It is also not about the guilty feeling better, it is about the victim feeling better. It is about the guilty truly taking responsibility. Being punished by the state, while often difficult, it really a way for the guilty to be absolved of responsibility while never really dealing with the damage that they cause.

A Foundation for Restorative Justice

Dr Tom Cavanagh Teaches Restorative Justice in the Schools

Yes, where better to start to learn personal responsibility to those you harm than in your youth. Could programs like this have prevented Columbine like incidents?

"The purpose of this website is to provide a forum for me to share with others the work I am doing. Currently I am primarily working in the field of restorative justice and particularly restorative practices in schools. My research and professional development interests focus on how schools can use restorative practices to respond to student wrongdoing and conflict in conjunction with a culturally appropriate pedagogy of relations in classrooms under the umbrella of a culture of care to create safe schools. In this environment students experience freedom from harm and the threat of harm and freedom to be who and what they are."

Tom Cavenagh

US Depeartment of Justice on Restorative Justice

US Department of Justice

For those of you who really want to study the issue, the synopsis of 5 symposia are here.

"For some time now there has been growing dissatisfaction with the justice system. Citizens feel disconnected, victims are dissatisfied, and those working in the system are frustrated. Policymakers are increasingly concerned about the burgeoning cost of justice in the face of this discontent and the high rates of recidivism that exist."

A Victim's Story

Restorative Justice Continuum

Its Time To Shift to Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is the path to healing for the victims of crime. It focuses on the victim and the victim's needs. It holds the criminal not just responsible for breaking the law, but also for reparations to the victim.

Do You Think We Need Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice On the State Level

Many states, including Texas, the state with the most executions, have provided agency help to Restorative Justice programs. This is a good sign. Perhaps they are seeing that we have come to the end of the era of Adversarial Justice and it is time to evolve into something different.


Making Things Right

Restorative Justice and Community Action

Forgiving Dead Man Walking

Victims don't have to forgive in order to gain from restorative justice. Many of them don't, especially those who have had loved ones murdered. However, there is a kind of forgiveness, one that is more of a letting go, that is healing.

Any Purchase Here Will Contribute to Heifer International: The Pay It Forward Entrepreneurial Charity

Many Ways to Learn About Restorative Justice

A Restorative Justice Reader
A Restorative Justice Reader
One of the most important developments in crime and its control over recent years has been the emergence of a dynamic campaign promoting restorative justice as an alternative to standard ways of responding to crime, ie. legal prosecution and state punishment. Accompanying this has been a rapidly growing literature on the subject, from the UK, North America, Australasia and elsewhere. The main aim of this book is to bring together a selection of extracts from the most important and influential contributions to the restorative justice literature and its emergent commentary providing context and explanation where necessary. The book includes by both well known proponents of restorative justice, work by some of the key critics of the restorative justice movements, along with work from a number of writers not directly involved in either advocacy or critique of restorative justice, but whose work is crucial to an understanding of it. The book is organized into five main sections: the concept of restorative justice; historical, anthropological and theological roots of restorative justice; the goals - restoring victims and offenders and preventing crime; the restorative process; and critical perspectives. The book provides a unique sourcebook, bringing together writings from a wide range of often inaccessible sources - essential reading both for students taking courses in criminal justice/restorative justice as well as practitioners involved in the administration of criminal justice who need an understanding of what restorative justice is about and how it has developed.
The Little Book of Restorative Justice (The Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding)
The Little Book of Restorative Justice (The Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding)
Vengeance and bitter violence have had their turns—without redemptive results. How should we as a society respond to wrongdoing? When a crime occurs or an injustice is done, what needs to happen? What does justice require? Howard Zehr, known worldwide for his pioneering work in transforming our understandings of justice, here proposes workable Principles and Practices for making restorative justice both possible and useful. First he explores how restorative justice is different from criminal justice. Then, before letting those appealing observations drift out of reach, into theoretical space, Zehr presents Restorative Justice Practices. Zehr undertakes a massive and complex subject and puts it in graspable form, without reducing or trivializing it. This is a handbook, a vehicle for moving our society toward healing and wholeness. This is a sourcebook, a starting point for handling brokenness with hard work and hope. This resource is also suitable for academic classes and workshops, for conferences and trainings. By the author of Changing Lenses; Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims; and Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences.
Handbook of Restorative Justice: A Global Perspective (Routledge International Handbooks)
Handbook of Restorative Justice: A Global Perspective (Routledge International Handbooks)
Handbook of Restorative Justice is a collection of original, cutting-edge essays that offer an insightful and critical assessment of the theory, principles and practices of restorative justice around the globe. This much-awaited volume is a response to the cry of students, scholars and practitioners of restorative justice, for a comprehensive resource about a practice that is radically transforming the way the human community responds to loss, trauma and harm. Its diverse essays not only explore the various methods of responding nonviolently to harms-done by persons, groups, global corporations and nation-states, but also examine the dimensions of restorative justice in relation to criminology, victimology, traumatology and feminist studies. In addition. They contain prescriptions for how communities might re-structure their family, school and workplace life according to restorative values. This Handbook is an essential tool for every serious student of criminal, social and restorative justice.
Critical Issues in Restorative Justice
Critical Issues in Restorative Justice
In a mere quarter-century, restorative justice has grown from a few scattered experimental projects into a worldwide social movement. Moving beyond its origins within the criminal justice arena, restorative justice is now being applied in schools, homes and the workplace. The restorative justice approach challenges the idea that state punishment is the best method of achieving justice. This "restorative" alternative strives to directly address the needs of all persons affected by a crime or a harm, often by bringing together victims, offenders and community members in some form of structured mediation or dialogue. The distinguished contributors to this book are all long-term advocates and practitioners of restorative justice from North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa. The 31 chapters confront the key threats to the integrity and effectiveness of the emerging international restorative justice movement: (1) cooptation or diversion from its core mission, and the possibility that reforms may cause unintended consequences; (2) being relegated primarily to "minor" crimes or conflicts, so that it has minimal impact on the overall system or justice; and (3) inherent flaws that undermine its effectiveness, such as failure to address social problems that breed conflicts, and methods skewed by cultural or gender biases.
The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools: Teaching Responsibility; Creating Caring Climates (The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series)
The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools: Teaching Responsibility; Creating Caring Climates (The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series)
So who has time to prepare food these days We timestarved cooks need recipes that are guaranteed to beQuick to fix Easy for anyone to make whether yoursquo;re a cook or not Delicious and satisfying. The solution FixIt and Forgetit 5Ingredient Favorites the new member in the multimillion copy Fixit and ForgetIt Cookbook series This smart new cookbook offers convenience and comfort to anyone faced with a toofull life and hungry people to feed. Gather five or fewer readily available ingredients your slow cooker FixIt and ForgetIt 5Ingredient Favoritesand you have Apricot Chicken Lazy Lasagna Shredded Dill Beef Bacon FetaStuffed Chickenbull; Alfredo BowTies UpsideDown Chocolate Pudding Cake Rich Brownies in a Nut CrustFixIt and ForgetIt 5Ingredient Favorites with its more than 600 recipes can be your new faithful campanion. Turn to it for Main Dishes Meats and Pastas Vegetables Soups Breads Breakfasts and Brunches Desserts Appetizers Snacks and Beverages. From New York Times bestselling author Phyllis Pellman Good who believes that it is possible to do homecooking and to enjoy the great satisfaction it brings to those who cook and to those who eat.
Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates
Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates
Restorative justice is one of the most talked about topics in the field of criminal justice, increasingly emphasized in relation to young offenders. Many see it also as a paradigm shift in criminal justice, away from dominant punitive and therapeutic paradigms, emphasizing instead the reintegration of offenders and potential offenders into their communities. Yet despite its high profile, the phenomenon of restorative justice is little understood. This book addresses this issue by providing an authoritative introduction to the ideas and principles of restorative justice, considering arguments both for and against its use. "Restorative Justice" should be useful reading for both students and practitioners, a key contribution to the restorative justice debate, and central to the future of the criminal justice system.
Restorative Justice In The United States: An Introduction
Restorative Justice In The United States: An Introduction
Restorative Justice in the United States provides a thorough overview of the restorative justice system, emphasizing both its complex and controversial dimensions. It features a balanced approach to the topic, providing readers with discussions of definitional issues, public policy history in the United States, and a context of comparative ideology. Citing a variety of sources, the book presents the multiple theoretical roots of the restorative justice movement and subsequently explains the methods and practices in the field. Each chapter is filled with policy recommendations, insights from experts, and discussions questions that encourage readers to form their own ideas on this emerging topic. Provides a well-documented overview of the restorative justice system and ideas about improving the system we have today. Covers both macro and micro issues and emphasizes the complexity and multi-level nature of the topic.  Cites a diverse array of sources. Makes policy recommendationswhile still acknowledging divergent positions. Those interested in or involved with criminal justice or juvenile justice reforms.
Handbook of Restorative Justice
Handbook of Restorative Justice
This book provides a comprehensive and authoritative account and analysis of restorative justice, one of the most rapidly growing phenomena in the field of criminology and justice studies. In the last decade it has become a central topic in debates about the future of criminal justice. Hundreds of restorative justice schemes are being developed around the world, and they are attracting more and more attention from criminal justice academics, professionals and policy-makers. The subject has reached a stage where a comprehensive, reliable and accessible overview of the international phenomenon of restorative justice is required. This book aims to meet this need, drawing together leading authorities on the subject from around the world in order to: elucidate and discuss the key concepts and principles of restorative justice; explain how the campaign for restorative justice arose and developed into the influential social movement it is today; describe the variety of restorative justice practices, explains how they have developed in various places and contexts, and critically examines their rationales and effects; identify and examines key tensions and issues within the restorative justice movement; and bring a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to bear upon the understanding and assessment of restorative justice.
Restorative Justice & Responsive Regulation (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)
Restorative Justice & Responsive Regulation (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)
Braithwaite's argument against punitive justice systems and for restorative justice systems establishes that there are good theoretical and empirical grounds for anticipating that well designed restorative justice processes will restore victims, offenders, and communities better than existing criminal justice practices. Counterintuitively, he also shows that a restorative justice system may deter, incapacitate, and rehabilitate more effectively than a punitive system. This is particularly true when the restorative justice system is embedded in a responsive regulatory framework that opts for deterrence only after restoration repeatedly fails, and incapacitation only after escalated deterrence fails. Braithwaite's empirical research demonstrates that active deterrence under the dynamic regulatory pyramid that is a hallmark of the restorative justice system he supports, is far more effective than the passive deterrence that is notable in the stricter "sentencing grid" of current criminal justice systems.
Restorative Justice and Family Violence
Restorative Justice and Family Violence
This book addresses one of the most controversial topics in restorative justice: its potential for resolving conflicts within families. It focuses on feminist and indigenous concerns in family violence that may warrant special caution in applying restorative justice. At the same time, it looks for ways of designing a place for restorative interventions that respond to these concerns.
Restorative Justice Civil Society
Restorative Justice Civil Society
Advocates of restorative justice question the state's ability to deliver satisfactory justice. This provocative volume looks at the flourishing restorative justice movement and considers the relationship between restorative justice and civil society. Genuinely international, it addresses aspects of civil society including schools, families, churches and private workplaces and considers broader issues such as democracy, human rights, access and equity. It presents the ideals of restorative justice so that victims, offenders, their families and communities might have more representation in the justice process.
Restorative Justice and the Law
Restorative Justice and the Law
Restorative justice has developed from a barely known term to a central role in debates on the future of criminal justice. As it has moved into the mainstream so new tensions and issues have emerged as it has become increasingly integrated into normal practice, and become part of broader legal and judicial systems -both in common law countries and those with centralized legal systems. The purpose of this book is to explore this developing relationship between the concepts and practice of restorative justice on the one hand, and the law and legal systems on the other. Amongst the questions it addresses are the following: how are informal processes to be juxtaposed with formal procedures?; what is the appropriate relationship between voluntarism and coercion?; and how can the procedures and practices of restorative justice be combined with legal standards, safeguards and precepts? In this book a distinguished team of contributors consider this crucual set of relationships between restorative justice and the law, building upon papers and discussions at the 5th international restorative justice conference in Leuven, Belgium, in September 2001.
Restorative Justice: How It Works
Restorative Justice: How It Works
This comprehensive guide provides an accessible introduction to the philosophy of restorative justice and its practical application in a wide range of settings, showing how it can help both victims and offenders when harm has been done. Drawing on many years' experience of working in victim support, probation, mediation and restorative practices, Marian Liebmann uses pertinent case examples to illustrate how restorative justice can be used effectively to work with crime and its effects. Also included are sections on confronting bullying in schools, dealing with sexual and racial violence, tackling antisocial behaviour and community reconciliation after war. Whether in the context of families, schools, communities, criminal justice or prisons, the author argues that restorative justice is a 'seamless philosophy' which can be applied flexibly to meet diverse needs. Liebmann provides an international outlook, examining how restorative justice is practised around the world, including traditional Maori and Aboriginal approaches. "Restorative Justice: How It Works" is a key reference for magistrates, social workers, probation officers, Youth Offending Team workers, police, teachers and health professionals, as well as the lay reader.
'Will the Circle be Unbroken?': Aboriginal Communities, Restorative Justice, and the Challenges of Conflict and Change
'Will the Circle be Unbroken?': Aboriginal Communities, Restorative Justice, and the Challenges of Conflict and Change
Embraced with zeal by a wide array of activists and policymakers, the restorative justice movement has made promises to reduce the disproportionate rates of Aboriginal involvement in crime and the criminal justice system and to offer a healing model suitable to Aboriginal communities. Such promises should be the focus of considerable critical analysis and evaluation, yet this kind of scrutiny has largely been absent. ?Will the Circle be Unbroken?? explores and confronts the potential and pitfalls of restorative justice, offering a much-needed critical perspective.Drawing on their shared experiences working with Aboriginal communities, Jane Dickson-Gilmore and Carol LaPrairie examine the outcomes of restorative justice projects, paying special attention to such prominent programs as conferencing, sentencing circles, and healing circles. They also look to Aboriginal justice reforms in other countries, comparing and contrasting Canadian reforms with the restorative efforts in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.?Will the Circle be Unbroken?? provides a comprehensive overview of the critical issues in Aboriginal and restorative justice, placing these in the context of community. It examines the essential role of community in furthering both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal aspirations for restorative justice.

Restorative Justice in South Africa

Cost of Prison

Cost of Prison
Cost of Prison

Please Sign in With Your Thoughts About This Lens and Restorative Justice

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent lens. Very interesting and thought provoking.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      May Restorative Justice become an increasing reality in our world....returning with a fresh angel blessing on this excellence!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens, the most comprehensive information I've seen about restorative justice. I heard a woman interviewed recently who did this process with her rapist. I'm not sure I'd be that brave, but for her it was a very healing experience.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      9 years ago

      Whether this only happens on Google Chrome or not, I don't know but it looks like a bunch of the images have gone AWOL. I took ages restoring all mine y'day.

    • ltraider profile image


      9 years ago

      What a great explanation on restorative justice. Would you mind if I used this in my Social Studies class?

    • CruiseReady profile image


      9 years ago from East Central Florida

      Interesting to think about, indeed. Though you present a convincing case, and make valid points adressing some very real shortfalls, it's not something I want to comment on without due thought... I haven't completed that proces yet

    • Krafick profile image


      9 years ago

      The so-called justice systems in place in many parts of the world are in fact injustice systems. Judges make so many mistakes...

      "And you who would understand justice, how shall

      you unless you look upon the all deeds in the fullness of light?

      Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen

      are but one man...

      And that the corner-stone of the temple is not

      higher than the lowest stone in its foundation." Khalil Gibran

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Dear Margo,

      I've been wanting to read this for days now, finally did. Really love how you simplified what many feel are such 'legalistic' terms that it becomes intimidating to try to understand the deeper issues. I will be lensrolling this to my latest lens, Victim Rights = Our Rights. Actually, I wish to add it as a feature, with your express permission first. Please let me know on my Bio page (or any guestbook) if OKAY with you Margo, no rush. Here's the link:

      Most respectfully,


    • norma-holt profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a big problem and you have tackled it well with great information and research behind it. Featured this on Profile of a Bully.

    • sheriangell profile image


      9 years ago

      A most excellent lens and blessed by a Culture & Society Angel today.

    • rwoman profile image


      9 years ago

      One of my friends did his dissertation on Apologia -- and studied the Rwandan response to the acts of violence during the genocide there. You might find it very interesting to look at what they did as it was much more about restorative justice than adversarial.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      10 years ago

      Wonderful lens on restorative justice to feature on November Blessings under ways to improve mental health. Radical self-honesty and simple accountability are so tough to employ, but so blessed by the consequences of doing so. I predict we'll see a lot more of this style of recovery.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I am so very impressed with this excellent work! You have the knowledge, experience and wisdom to speak well on this subject and you do it powerfully!

    • hlkljgk profile image


      10 years ago from Western Mass

      what a great philosophy. thanks so much for sharing

    • Amy Fricano profile image

      Amy Fricano 

      10 years ago from WNY

      One smart legal beagle you would make, if you aren't already one. This is a wonderful discussion of ideas we have been incorporating...and oddly enough the OJ mess helped us get some of it done. New and better statutes, drug and alcohol, anger management, treatment and best of all offenders going to "victim impact" panels where they are addressed by crime victims especially good for DUI cases.....I blather on. But know that things do change with our human understanding of issues leading to crime. What a great lens and topic.

    • religions7 profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • LisaDH profile image


      11 years ago

      There are so many things wrong with our justice system, including the fact that victims are often revictimized and perpetrators never really get to see the impact of their actions on the people they hurt. A restorative justice system would help solve that problem. But beyond that, the recidivism rate in our prisons is appalling. Locking someone away doesn't teach them how to change their lives. It gets them off the streets for a few years, but it doesn't address the underlying cause of their behavior. A truly effective justice system would involve mandatory and intensive counseling for all convicts. But shrinks are more expensive than prisons guards, aren't they?


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