Community Based Restorative Justice
- Focus on the harms of crime rather than just the rules that have been broken.
- Show equal concern and commitment to victims, offenders, and communities by involving all in the process of justice.
- Work toward the restoration of victims and communities, empowering them and responding to their needs as they see them.
- Support offenders, while encouraging them to understand, accept, and carry out their obligations.
- Recognize that while obligations may be difficult for offenders, those obligations should not be intended as punishment, and they must be achievable.
- Provide opportunities for dialogue, direct or indirect, between victim and offender as appropriate.
- Find meaningful ways to involve the community and to respond to the community bases of crime.
- Encourage collaboration and reintegration of both victims and offenders, rather than coercion and isolation.
- Give attention to the unintended consequences of all actions and programs.
- Show respect to all parties – victims, offenders, and justice colleagues.
- Implement Restorative Justice principles at every level of the continuum of harm, whether that be in a school setting or diversion program, during probation, in a detention , jail or prison setting.
Principles of Restorative Justice
- Crime is injury.
- Crime hurts individual victims, communities, and offenders and creates an obligation to make things right.
- All parties should be a part of the response to the crime, including the victim if he or she wishes, the community, and the offender.
- The victim’s perspective is central to deciding how to repair the harm caused by the crime.
- Accountability for the offender means accepting responsibility and acting to repair the harm done.
- The community is responsible for the well-being of all its members, including both victim and offender.
- All human beings have dignity and worth.
- Restoration — repairing the harm and rebuilding relationships in the community — is the primary goal of restorative justice.
- Results are measured by how much repair was done rather than by how much punishment was inflicted.
- Crime control cannot be achieved without active involvement of the community.
- The restorative justice process is respectful of age, abilities, sexual orientation, family status, and diverse cultures and backgrounds — whether racial, ethnic, geographic, religious, economic, or other — and all are given equal protection and due process.
- Support from the community, opportunity to define the harm experienced, and participation in decisionmaking about steps for repair result in increased victim recovery from the trauma of crime.
- Community involvement in preventing and controlling crime, improving neighborhoods, and strengthening the bonds among community members results in community protection.
- Through understanding the human impact of their behavior, accepting responsibility, expressing remorse, taking action to repair the damage, and developing their own capacities, offenders become fully integrated, respected members of the community.
- As restorative justice practitioner, organizing and supporting processes in which individual crime victims, other community members, and offenders are involved in finding constructive resolutions to conflict, harm and crime.