Restorative Justice is an Aquarian process that has it’s roots in ancient Healing Circles.  Restorative Justice redefines wrongdoing or conflict, bringing it into a collective context rather than an isolated act.  Restorative Justice views offenses as violations in the very web of relationships in a community.  Offenses create a tear in the social fabric, which must be repaired by the offender and the community.

Who is better to repair the tear than the person who made it?  Who is better to tell how than the Harmed Party?  Restorative Justice focuses on taking accountability and shifting from “punitive” action to restorative action.

Restorative Justice seeks to repair the harm associated with wrongdoing through restoration of the humanity and dignity of all involved.  Persons of Concern (offender) are encouraged to be accountable for their actions and to actively work to repair the harm; Harmed Parties (Victim) are encouraged to speak of their losses, to listen, to forgive and to help fashion appropriate reparations.  With these measures, courageously taken, the relationship between the Person of Concern and the affected community members can be repaired and balance is often restored.

Ideal Restorative Justice Conference Outcomes:

  • Healing and repair of harm to Harmed Party and Community
  • Enhanced empathy and understanding among participants
  • Harmed Party is given a full voice
  • Agreement is created that offers the Person of Concern creative opportunities for growth, increased self-worth and re-integration into the community
  • Harmed Party discovers a pathway to forgiveness, restoration of harm and healing
  • Empowerment of the Person of Concern to repair harm and make better choices in the future
  • Enhanced capacity of the community to collectively solve its problems
  • Enhance community health and wholeness

Stages of Restorative Justice (Community Group Conference)

  1. Opening statements of facilitator(s):
  • Welcome
  • Introductions
  • Brief statement of the purpose of Restorative Justice
  • Agreement to Participate
  • Guidelines
  1. Participants share their perspective of what happened:
  • Person of Concern takes accountability, tells what he or she did and describes who they think they harmed and how
  • Harmed Party (including family members) describes what happened and the harm done
  • Family members of the Person of Concern describe what happened and the impact
  • Community members, mentors, and advocates of the Person of Concern describe the impact
  1. Co-facilitator (recorder) summarizes the harm
  2. Group brainstorms how to repair the harm
  3. Facilitators facilitate creation of a sustainable agreement
  4. Breaking of bread (eating together), writing agreement, filling out post-conference questionnaires
  5. Re-gather in the circle to sign agreement and close

Reprinted with permission from Common Ground Mediation Services, “40 Hour Restorative Justice Training Student Manual,” by Mary Ellen Gonzales, Debra Oliver & Lisa Stuckey