Now that we all understand what Restorative Justice is and what it can look like (no? start here!), what does it actually look like? In a sneak peak of a new documentary titled Healing Justice: Cultivating a World of Belonging, the director of a Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice speaks about a case given to her about a kid who had stolen a car and how they are using the concept of Restorative Justice to “punish” the child. I put the word punish in quotes because with Restorative Justice, it is replacing the concept of punishing an offender with them being held accountable for their actions. You can find the video at this url: https://goo.gl/znYsAs.
Another way that Restorative Justice is being used in our country is in schools! What this looks like in terms of a school is that it empowers the students to resolve conflicts among one another on their own and in small groups. So basically, the students are brought together in small groups to talk, ask questions, and then air their grievances. This is helping school districts reduce the amounts of suspensions and expulsion rates. The students are even saying that they feel happier and safer at school. If Restorative Justice is doing this amount of good in something like schools, which are filled with hormone raging teenagers who only want to make other feel bad about themselves, who’s to say it won’t work on a larger scale, like our justice system? [Editor's note - Minnesota schools have strong restorative practices programs and training. Find more information on the Department of Education site here - or read Nancy Riestenberg's book in Circles in schools.]