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
Restorative justice is a group of conflict-resolution/alternative dispute resolution processes used in the wake of an offense, or a criminal act that may bring an individual into contact with the justice system.
These offenses are most often petty crimes, but they can also be more serious crimes. In either case, restorative justice requires offenders to show accountability, which is acknowledgment of and responsibility for a given action and its consequences.
This resolution process is intended to produce results beyond those allowed by the court system by focusing on the needs of the victims, or members of a community that could have been impacted by a crime, and the offenders, as opposed to simply punishing the offender.
When it begins, the restorative justice process opens up a dialogue by bringing together the following parties:
The victims will have an opportunity to share the impact the offense had on them. After listening to the victims, the offender will have a chance to talk about his or her motivations and react to what the victims shared.
The goal in this process is accountability, as the three parties will decide together on an appropriate way for the offender to give restitution to the victims and community members that have been impacted by the crime.
Restorative justice programs have an extremely good success rate. Victim satisfaction is higher than in most cases; the offenders’ accountability is also higher, and their recidivism (repetition of crimes) is lower than when many of these crimes are processed through traditional court systems.
For example, if the crime is shoplifting, the store owners will share how this affected them, and the community members can talk about how a theft from a store in their neighborhood has impacted their sense of safety.
Source: Adapted from Sophia tutorial by Marlene Johnson.