About Restorative Justice
This is the cover image from Rupert Ross' book,
Returning to the Teachings. The artwork, by
Randy Charbonneau, is entitled "Restorative
Justice and Transforming Society." The description
in the book reads:
"It was the turtle who offered his back when a
foundation was needed to re-create Mother
Earth. At the beginning of time, the Anishinabe
(the original people) had ways of dealing with
justice within the community. The circle was
known to be the place of no end. It created a
space where one's voice could be heard--where
the capacity, the connection, the creativity of the
community found a place of being, by bringing
people together to repair the harm that had
been done. A victim's voice, an offender's voice,
the community's voice, no longer ignored,
shamed or victimized. A place of compassion,
connection, sacredness, voice and truth."
Restorative justice is a global social movement with many traditions and approaches. Restorative Justice Online maintains a database of articles about restorative justice from around the world.
Restorative conferencing is a process that has its roots in the indigenous Maori justice process in New Zealand. Conferencing became popularized worldwide in the 1990s as a result of research by the prominent Australian law professor John Braithwaite. In 1998 in Baltimore, Maryland, Lauren Abramson founded the Community Conference Center, one of the most active restorative justice centers in the U.S.
Victim offender mediated dialogues began in 1978 with a small program in Elkhart, Indiana by Howard Zehr. Often called the grandfather of restorative justice, Zehr recently retired from his professorship at Eastern Mennonite University. In the 1980s, Mark Umbreit, a social work professor at the University of Minnesota, further developed VOM/D as an evidence-based practice and founded the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.
Circle practices draw on Native American and Canadian traditions. They became popular with the 1996 publication of Rupert Ross' Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice and the 2003 Peacemaking Circles: From Crime to Community, by Kay Pranis, Barry Stuart, and Mark Wedge. Circles are used widely as a response to crime, to address school misconduct, and to offer support for offenders returning to the community from prison.
Introduction to RJ
Here are two short introductions from Brave New Films. The first makes a straightforward case of why RJ is important and the second provides a case example from Los Angeles.
Great Britain has implemented RJ widely. The non-profit Restorative Justice Council has produced two introductory videos to help explain RJ to the public:
These videos show the process of RJ conferencing. The first is a clip from the documentary called Burning Bridges, featuring the first part of the conferencing, which identifies the harm caused by the offense--in this case the burning of a historic covered bridge. The second is a short documentary about a restorative dialogue in a case of sexual assault.
The first clip provides testimonials from youth participants of a restorative justice program in Santa Rosa, California.The second is dramatization of an actual conference in England based on a burglary incident.
Restorative Justice Circle Practices
These video clips show the restorative justice circle practices in the K-12 school setting. The first shows how the practice is used for community building and prevention. The second is a reentry circle for a student returning to high school after serving time in juvenile detention. These were produced by the prominent program, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY).
Restorative Justice in Prison and Reentry
The first clip features the victim-offender dialogue in Coloraddo prisons. The second focuses on the Bridges to Life Program, a prison-based restorative justice education project focusing on victim awareness and empathy. The thrid focuses on Circles of Support and Accountability, and highly successful model for high risk sex offenders returning to the community from prison.
Restorative Justice for Mass Violence and Human Rights Violations
These videos show how restorative justice practices are used in the aftermath of war, genocide, and human rights violations. The first features reconciliation practices in Rwanda and the second focuses on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.
General Restorative Justice Websites
Restorative Justice for All (England)
Academic Programs Examining Restorative Justice
- Johnson State College Criminal Justice Program
- Marygrove College Criminal Justice Program
Important RJ Books
Boyes-Watson, Carolyn. 2008. Peacemaking Circles and Urban Youth. St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press.
Boyes-Watson, Carolyn and Kay Pranis. 2015. Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community. St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press.
Braithwaite, John. 1989. Crime, Shame, and Reintegration. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Braithwaite, John. 2002. Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burnett, Nick and Margaret Thorsborne. 2015. Restorative Practice and Special Needs. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers..
Holtham, Jeanette. 2009. Taking Restorative Justice to Schools: A Doorway to Discipline. Toledo, IL: Homestead Press.
Johnstone, Gerry. 2002. Restorative Justice: Ideas, Values, Debates. Portland, OR: Willan.
Liebmann, Marian. 2007. Restorative Justice: How it Works. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Llewellyn, Jennifer and Daniel Philpott. 2014. Restorative Justice, Reconciliation, and Peacebuilding. New York: Oxford.
London, Ross. 2011. Crime, Punishment, and Restorative Justice. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.
Mills, Linda. 2008. Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Abuse. New York: Basic Books.
Morrison, Brenda. 2007. Restoring Safe School Communities: A Whole School Response to Bullying, Violence and
Pranis, Kay, Barry Stuart, and Mark Wedge. 2003. Peacemaking Circles. St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press.
Pranis, Kay. 2005. The Little Book of Circle Processes. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.
Ross, Rupert. 1996. Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice. New York: Penguin.
Rossner, Meredith. 2013. Just Emotions: Rituals of Restorative Justice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schrage, Jennifer Meyer and Nancy Geist Giacomini (eds.). 2009. Reframing Campus Conflict: Student Conduct Process through a Social Justice Lens. Herndon, VA: Stylus.
Shapland, Joanna, Gwen Robinson and Angela Sorsby. 2011. Restorative Justice in Practice: Evaluating What Works for Victims and Offenders. New York: Routledge.
Stutzman Amstutz, Lorraine. 2009. The Little Book of Victim Offender Conferencing. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.
Stutzman Amstutz, Lorraine and Judy Mullet. 2005. The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.
Umbreit, Mark and Marilyn Peterson Armour. 2010. Restorative Justice Dialogues: A Research-Based Approach to Working with Victims, Offenders, Families and Communities. New York: Springer.
Thorsborne, Margaret and Peta Blood. 2013. Implementing Restorative Practice in Schools: A Practical Guide to Transforming School Communities. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Zehr, Howard. 1990. Changing Lenses. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.
Zehr, Howard. 2002. The Little Book of Restorative Justice. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.