Restorative Justice demonstrates that using values, generates postive impacts, one after another.
I’ve heard of it and experienced it, one good deed promotes another. I paid for coffee for the person behind me in line, before leaving the coffee shop, the barista stopped me to say it went on for a dozen people!
When we feel good, we behave better. When we feel hurt and wounded, we see the world as a cold and harmful place. I am to energized by the rest of the post I need to write, otherwise I would link you to articles that reinforce this concept.
The story I have to share today is pretty amazing. We have our first offender, making his own referral/request for further restorative justice. After participating in a Circle – an Underage Consumption Panel, the evaluation form included the request (I took out a few pieces to respect confidentiality):
I got in trouble . . . after a night of drinking. My eyes were opened to the effects my action have on people and I would like to apologize . . . I was wondering if you could help me . . .
Here at SCVRJP we do all we can to create both an attitude and atmosphere of Restorative Justice Values. I speak with volunteers about being inclusive, helpful, equal with all participants and people we come in contact with. When you volunteer here, you are part of our family, you are representing SCVRJP and the values and mission of our agency. We focus on the first step of accountability is to acknowledge you caused the harm. Taking responsibility for our choices, means we are going to empower ourselves to the lesson of growth, discovery and change. Isn’t that the basis of what life is about?
When Restorative Justice “works” we have repaired harm, we have helped people grow. We use evidence-based measures, satisfaction scales, re-offending rates, studies to be in a world of competing programs, grant funding and criminal justice alternatives. Sometimes we just have to depend on “knowing”. I know this stuff makes sense. It resonates with who I am as a person, to be doing this work. I’m committed on a grand scale to bringing all the Restorative Justice I can to the world. Then I come in and find an evaluation form on my desk, with a comment like the one above. I didn’t keep the Circle that promoted this. I wasn’t in the building or in town. This is the work of SCVRJP. We opened a door, he passed through it and now wants to do more with his new knowledge.
Often times our evaluations include comments about our program being “eye-opening”. Today I am thinking about our eyes being the windows to our soul. In Restorative Justice – we are viewing people holistically to promote whole-ness. We look at people and mind, body, heart & soul – or mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Values, relationship values are the things that help us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When people reveal connections to their own inner strength and wisdom, by using these values, others are prompted to do the same. The example: today’s story. Our keeper, the volunteer storytellers, the supportive community members, they create the demonstration of these values.
I’m gonna be smiling today, SCVRJP provided a court-ordered service and somebody said “can I get some more of that?”