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Characteristics of restorative / transformational justice approaches

Jun 07, 2011

from the entry by RadioGirl on Criminal Injustice Kos:

There is no monolithic approach to restorative/transformational justice initiatives. 

Some initiatives emphasize community involvement and are intended to eventually replace the harsh punishment/expanded policing orientation of the criminal legal system, while others are designed to work wholly within that system, as a more recent feature of it.  There are many "blended" approaches that involve the criminal legal system, but also have components that operate independently.

Some initiatives look beyond individuals to examine and seek to address the social conditions in which violence regularly occurs, while many others do not.

Even so, some values/commitments are largely shared  – but to varying degrees and in different ways. 

  • Greater focus on harm/wrongdoing/fracture in positive relationships among individuals and in the community and on impacts of same; less emphasis on lawbreaking as an abstract concept.
  • Focus on repairing harm caused by violence and wrongdoing, to the extent possible.
  • Commitment to short- and long-term safety, healing, and constructive support for survivors
  • Focus on accountability/acceptance of responsibility and positive transformation for people who harm others; less emphasis on “punishment.”
  • Not restricted to courtrooms; survivors and those responsible for harm may voluntarily choose to meet face to face in a mediated/facilitated non-courtroom setting.  Other relevant community members may also have a role in processes.
  • Active rather than passive involvement of all parties in the processes wherever possible; encouraging a sense of agency in ordinary people.
  • Outcome focus on mitigation of harm and prevention of harm, and on positive outcomes for survivors and those who have engaged in wrongdoing.
Read the whole entry.


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