Restorative justive restores victims, restores perpetrators and restores communities. It is about the idea that because crime hurts, justice should heal.

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Restorative justice is partly about the aim that justice processes repair the harm done through domination, whether that is the domination of crime, of war or of school bullying. Because crime and war hurt, justice should heal. Restorative justice has a place for passive responsibility for past wrongs, but is more concerned with stakeholders taking active responsibility for justice as a better future. The process of acknowledging past domination and agreeing to transcend it can be heavily laden with shame. It risks humiliation. Averting humiliation and preserving dignity, individually and institutionally, are important to shame management in restorative justice. These are reasons for conceiving restorative justice and shame management as important to crime prevention and war prevention. Restorative justice is a process for realising values of non-domination by sitting stakeholders in a circle to ask simple questions:

What happened?

How were people affected?

What needs to be done to make things better?

In this short lecture, John Braithwaite examines some of the key theories and applications of Restorative Justice.

(image from spiritinthecity blog; shows mural in Balmy Alley in the Mission, San Francisco)

KEY REFERENCES

Restorative justice can be a useful part of the response to complex challenges as diverse as those listed below: