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Restorative justice: the evolution of an issue

Feb 04, 2013

from the entry by Colette Kimball for the Prevention Researcher blog:

....It was 2007 when I was first asked about doing an issue on restorative justice by our author, Sandra Pavelka. Although I was potentially interested, two things kept this issue from happening more quickly: First, I felt like the literature surrounding restorative justice needed to have a stronger research-base; and, second, restorative justice was a concept and approach I struggled to fully understand. There are so many types of interventions that fall under the rubric of “restorative justice” that seeing the connections was difficult for me.

Later — in 2011 — when I began working with Laura Mirsky of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) on an article about restorative practices it finally became very clear. I finally understood how the many different approaches which are all considered “Restorative Justice” fit together and revolve around the same goal – to restore the harm done by a wrongdoing. At this time, I felt like the field had finally matured enough to devote an entire issue of The Prevention Researcher to restorative justice — not only was the research stronger, but restorative justice advocates were doing a better job of articulating their work.

So, in 2012, work began on our Restorative Justice issue. As with all of our issues, I started by talking with members of our Advisory Board. I learned that many of them were also unclear about what, exactly, restorative justice was. Building on their feedback and my own difficulties understanding this approach, we worked to create an issue for The Prevention Researcher ttp://which started at the beginning.

For our issue, we found an excellent author, Avery Calhoun, to write the introduction, which provides a brief history and gives us a foundation. Then, we feature two case studies – one set in a school and one in a juvenile justice program – to show restorative justice at work. We add detail to the mechanics of restorative justice with two additional articles, one about the supports necessary to bring restorative justice into a school, and another about the difficulties that youth with language competence problems have in the highly verbal exchanges typical in restorative justice programs. Finally, I am delighted to conclude this issue with an interview with Ted Wachtel of IIRP. While our issue is focused primarily around restorative justice, Ted talks about the broader approach of restorative practices, which has the potential to stop wrongdoing from happening in the first place.

With support from IIRP the digital edition of our February 2013 restorative justice issue is available for free. Learn more about the issue here (where you may also purchase printed copies). Or, go here to view the whole issue in digital format.

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