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Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice

Author: Julie Tietz

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand that restorative justice is one of many conflict resolution methods, and is specifically an application of conflict resolution techniques to criminal activity and its aftermath

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Video Transcription

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Hi. I'm Julie Tietz, and welcome to Conflict Resolution-- Putting the Pieces Together. Today we're going to cover restorative justice. So why don't we get started off with our key terms? Restorative justice-- a group of conflict resolution, or ADR processes used in the wake of a criminal act intended to produce results beyond those allowed by the court system.

Offense-- a criminal act that may bring an individual into contact with the justice system. Accountability-- acknowledgment and responsibility for a given action and its consequences. Restorative justice is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims, the offenders, and the involved community. And this is instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender, as we see with the traditional legal system.

RJ, or Restorative Justice, seeks to reduce the likelihood of reoffense by the offender, and to restore the needs of the victim. Restorative justice is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offense against an individual or community, rather than the state. So when we typically see a criminal offense coming through the traditional justice system, we are seeing the state against so-and-so. And restorative justice would like to, or views the offense as so-and-so versus so-and-so victim. In restorative justice, we're fostering dialogue between the victim and the offender. And this shows that there's a higher rate of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.

In an RJ process, we have a facilitator, or a conflict intervener, present to foster and facilitate communication, and to prevent new conflict from arising. And those that are present in this process include, again, the facilitator, the offender, the victims, and other impacted parties or community members that were involved in the offense.

And the RJ process requires the participation of all of these individuals in order for it to work. And during this process, we have an open discussion where the parties can openly discuss their motivations, actions, reactions, and post-offense conditions. So here the victim has the opportunity to sit face-to-face with their offender and say how their actions affected their life, as well as the community members can let the offender know how their actions affected them and their community.

And the offender also has the opportunity to discuss their motivations and actions surrounding their crime. And together, they come up with post-offense conditions where they come up with ideas or tasks that the offender must do to repair the harm that they have created through their offense.

Areas that we see restorative justice used in the traditional justice system include the juvenile justice system, and with adult offenders that have committed minor offenses such as vandalism, for example. So now that we've covered restorative justice, let's go over our key points.

Restorative justice involves meeting the needs of the victim, offender, and community. And in the process, it's an open discussion where the parties can discuss their motivations, actions, and reactions, and come up with post-offense conditions for the offender. And in this process, we have a higher victim satisfaction rate versus what the victim may feel through a traditional justice system process.

Here they have the opportunity to express their views more than they would through that other process. And we also have a higher-- or, a lower rate of reoffense by the offender, because they are taking more accountability for their actions and owning what they have done. Thank you for taking the time out to view this tutorial on restorative justice. I hope you've learned something, and I can't wait to catch you again next time.

Terms to Know

Acknowledgement and responsibility for a given action and its consequences.


A criminal act that may bring a minor into contact with the juvenile justice system.

Restorative Justice

A group of conflict resolution/ADR processes used in the wake of a criminal act intended to produce results beyond those allowed by the court system.