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When can a program be considered “Restorative Justice”?

When can a program be considered “Restorative Justice”?

For programs and processes to be recognized as Restorative Justice, these Principles must inform all decisions and be demonstrated when program staff and volunteers interact with each other, stakeholders, and the parties.

❖ RELATIONALLY FOCUSED Attention is given to interconnection, and seeks to understand and promote just relations between individuals, groups, and communities. Restorative justice ensures that relationships harmed by crime are addressed.

❖ RESPECTFUL Histories, contexts and the cause of harm and its impacts, are always considered. It treats all participants (victims, offenders, and community members) with dignity, compassion, and equal regard.

❖ SAFE Attends to the physical, emotional, cultural, and spiritual safety and well-being of all participants. Participation in RJ should not result in further harm to any participant.

❖ VOLUNTARY Participation of victims, offenders, and community members must be voluntary, and based on free, informed, and ongoing consent.

❖ FOCUSED ON REPARATION Acknowledging and repairing the physical, emotional, and financial harm caused by crime, as required to meet the needs of those affected. RJ provides opportunities for understanding, healing, and change and aims to contribute to the restoration and reintegration of victims and offenders.

❖ INCLUSIVE AND PARTICIPATORY It is culturally grounded and trauma informed, attentive to the needs of parties and the safety and well-being of participants. RJ fosters and supports the meaningful participation of those affected; which includes victims, offenders, and at times their friends, families, and members of their community.

❖ RESPONSIVE Restorative Justice responds to the local context, is flexible in practice, accessible, and builds efficient and effective processes informed by data and knowledge.

❖ FOCUSED ON PROMOTING INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY It assists those who have caused harm to acknowledge and take responsibility for harm and reparation.

❖ COLLABORATIVE AND NON-ADVERSARIAL Parties to the process, system, and community partners are to collaborate with one another. This enables participants to communicate openly and honestly and to have an active role in determining how to address their needs, as they see them.

❖ FORWARD FOCUSED RJ is not punitive, but educative in that its focus is on problem solving, being preventative and being proactive.

A program needs all of these elements in order to be considered “Restorative Justice”. Some programs only has a few of these restorative aspects, and 

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