I recently found a recorded interview: Dr. MikeRestorative justice. The name caught my attention. I couldn’t even finish listening. I found the interviewer to be, (uhhh, imagine I’m in a Circle) less than neutral on the topic. I started to have empathy for Mikhal Lyubansky. Although we have never met in person, I appreciate him. He’s written for Psychology Today and he frequently includes some of my Circlespace blog posts on Twitter. We are Facebook friends, so I wrote him a brief message, offering my support. I offered a connection to Path To Justice, with Herb Blake. Herb has a conversation and creates a friendship with his interviewees’. By the way, that’s a great way to listen and get to meet some Restorative Justice personalities. If you are a reader here and doing the work, connect with Herb.
Mikhail sent me the blog post, written by the person who interviewed him. She is not on my megatrend wave. This blog post demonstrates that she doesn’t have a great deal of understanding about Restorative Justice. I’ve seen that happen, trying to explain restorative justice is like trying to describe the ocean, with a shot glass of salt water. So I have brought it down to this as a brief overview, and teaching/training tool:
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative process brings those harmed by crime or conflict, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
Restorative Justice, my thoughts now, my explanation, in the 300 words left for this post.
Think of a clock. These are individual and separate, yet they layer over each other.
- Please consider that Restorative Justice is the face of the clock:
- Settings: 12-3 o’clock Pre-diversion, 3-6 o’clock Diversion, 6-9 o’clock Court-ordered, 9-12 o’clock Incarceration.
- Issues: 12 o’clock Conflict, 3 o’clock Property crime, 6 o’clock Crimes against people, 9 o’clock Violent crimes – 11:59 Death, loss of life cases.
- Partners: 12-3 o’clock Community, 3-6 o’clock Schools, 6-9 o’clock Court-alternatives, 9-12 o’clock Probation/Parole and Prison settings.
- Wrong-doings: 12-3 completely an accident, 3-6 lack of skill or understanding of the rules, 6-9 to resolve my problem (crimes from addiction, trauma) 9-11:59 the malice, those with pathology.
- Participants: 12-3 Community, 3-6 those harmed, 6-9 the author of the harmful act, 9-12 Circle-tator and supporters.
- The Process: The clock is a Circle. My recommendation, a Restorative Justice Circle.
- Circle Stages: 12- 1 Getting Aquainted, 3-6 Building Relationships, 6-9 Addressing Issues, 9-11:59 Taking Action.
- The philosophy: Howard Zehr, has 3 pillars, yet 4 words – one for each quarter on the clock: Harms/Needs/Obligations/Engagement!
Time is a constant, we can’t make is pause. Like time, Restorative Justice is always there, and like time it depends on how you are going to use it!