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Restorative justice is the law

Sep 04, 2012

by Dan Van Ness

Heartspeak Productions is a remarkable Canadian group that describes itself as "on a continual quest to learn about & share the principles and best practices of restorative justice." It does this by creating excellent videos exploring dimensions of restoration. Fraser Community Justice Initiatives Association is a community NGO also in Canada that for 25 years has developed programs and training that help people in conflict find good resolutions.

Now they have collaborated on the development of an impressive 48-minute video called Restorative Justice is the Law. It explores the status of restorative justice in Canadian law. It does make an effective case for the full inclusion of restorative justice in Canadian criminal justice. But it goes far beyond that.

Through a series of interviews with influential and knowledgeable people from the fields of constitutional, crimnal and international law, psychology, neurobiology, corrections and human rights, it offers an effective introduction to restorative justice, to how the criminal justice system actually works, and to how restorative approaches can be far more effective than traditional court and prison processes.

The film demonstrates that there are obligations and opportunities to respond restoratively at every level of the justice system and that the public interest is served when the processes meet human rights obligations and satisfy sentencing objectives set out in the criminal code.  

As Heartspeak's press release says, "It is made clear that a collective dedication to social justice, unalienable human rights and citizen participation in the legal system are as vital to implementing restorative justice as understanding our interconnectedness and creating the conditions for healing in our communities."

This is a wonderful resource to anyone interested in seeing how restorative justice can be explained and positioned within a comprehensive system that values and seeks to be restorative.

Do yourself a favor and take an hour to watch and think about this video. It is available on for no charge and for purchase in CD format.

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