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Socio-Legal Issues

Restorative justice has many socio-legal implications related to its implementation. Among some of the issues discussed in this section:


  • rights versus responsibilities examines the socio-legal implications of different perspectives--that of the traditional criminal justice system emphasis on defining and protecting individuals' rights through formal, adversarial processes, and of the restorative emphasis on assuming responsibilities and collective conflict-resolution through informal processes;
  • norm/value explication and clarification asserts the ability of a restorative justice system to promote education of norms and/or values held communally and/or universally;
  • fairness and justice re-examines the meaning of "fairness" within the traditional and restorative systems, and how it relates to their different processes for achieving justice;
  • discretion deals with the issue of what entity has the authority to decide the course of a particular case within the context of a system with restorative interventions


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Slide Shows

Changing Lenses
A profound metaphor for understanding justice (Howard Zehr).
Justice that Heals 
Talks about the wounds of crime and how to heal them.

Introductory Tutorials

An introductory tutorial on the worldwide movement of restorative justice.

What is Restorative Justice?

Series of slide shows describing various aspects of restorative justice.


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Briefing Paper

This paper provides a  definition of restorative justice,  processes, and outcomes. The paper is available in English, French, Spanish, and Russian

Restorative Justice Learning Tool

provided by the Mennonite Central Committee. (requires flash player)