Restorative Justice is a philosophy and practice that empowers all those affected by a harmful incident to decide collectively how to repair the harm, restore trust, and build a sense of community. Restorative Justice focuses on building respectful relationships that recognize the dignity and humanity of everyone involved. This effort will work to reduce the need for suspension and will build caring communities in schools while ending disproportionately punitive discipline for students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students. Supported by extensive research, restorative practices has demonstrated positive outcomes in a wide variety of settings. We’ve consistently seen proactive circles improve behavior and decrease bullying and violence in schools, fair practice improve workplace morale, a restorative conference provides emotional healing for victims and group decision making. We have also seen improvements in attendance and suspension levels by schools that implement restorative practices in its culture.
Values of Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice emphasizes values of empathy, respect, honesty, acceptance, responsibility, and accountability. Restorative Justice also provides ways to effectively address behavior and other complex school issues. Offers a supportive environment that can improve learning. Improves safety by preventing future harm. Offers alternatives to suspension and expulsion.
The first normative value is a peaceful social life. Peace means more than the absence of open conflict. It includes concepts of harmony, contentment, security, and wellbeing that exist in a community at peace with itself and with its members. When conflict occurs, it is addressed in such a way that peaceful social life is restored and strengthened. Resolution and Protection are two operational values that help achieve peaceful social life.
The second normative value is respect. All people are treated as worthy of consideration, recognition, care, and attention simply because they are people. The operational values that encourage respect are inclusion and empowerment. The parties are invited to directly shape and engage in restorative processes and are equipped to effectively influence and participate in the response to the offense.
Value # 3
The third normative value is solidarity. This refers to the feeling of agreement, support, and connectedness among members of a group or community. It grows out of their shared interests, purposes, sympathies, and responsibilities. Connecting students live together during conflict resolution is an example of this value. Three operational values that build solidarity are encounter, assistance, and moral education.
Value # 4
The final normative value is active responsibility. This can be contrasted with passive responsibility, which means being held accountable by others. Active responsibility arises from within a person; passive responsibility is imposed from outside the person. Collaboration and Making amends are two operational values that contribute to the development of active responsibility.