RJ Minute: Traditional vs. Restorative Justice
When I say that restorative justice (RJ) favors healing over punishment, here’s what I mean.
For misconduct, our traditional discipline system asks three basic questions:
- WHAT RULES HAVE BEEN BROKEN?
- WHO DID IT?
- WHAT DO THEY DESERVE?
Accountability is defined by legal consequences such as fines, community service, suspension, expulsion or incarceration.
But restorative justice takes the same situation of misconduct and comes at it from a different angle. Instead of focusing on rules and consequences, RJ asks three different questions:
- WHO HAS BEEN HURT?
- WHAT ARE THEIR NEEDS?
- WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADDRESSING THOSE NEEDS?
Accountability is defined as healing the harm, making things right.
Restorative justice opens possibilities for healing and connection far beyond the incident of misconduct.
Explore our website to learn more or sign up for an upcoming training to put the power of this process to work in your community!
 Zehr, Howard (2002) The Little Book of Restorative Justice. Good Books; Intercourse, PA p.21
 Zehr, H. (2002) p.21
 Riestenberg, Nancy (2012) Circle in the Square: Community Building and Repairing Harm in School. Living Justice Press; St. Paul, MN