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How to start a Restorative Justice program.

How to start a Restorative Justice program.

Restorative justice is inherently a community justice process and should be driven by community practitioners. Often, when community groups or individuals in a community want to start a restorative justice program there are many questions that come to mind. Who to contact? Where do referrals come from? How to get funding? How are volunteers trained? Where does support come from? ARJA has created a Guide that helps answer these questions. The ‘Guide to Developing a Restorative Justice Program‘ is meant to be a resource for all of those who might have a role in initiating, supporting or participating in restorative justice programs.

Specifically this Guide may be used for the following purposes:

  • Provide principles and approaches of restorative justice programming from which local communities could build their own programs or assess their present program.
  • Provide information to local communities of what can be expected from a Restorative Justice program.
  • Give credibility to Restorative Justice Programs for potential funders and stakeholders.
  • Be a useful tool for potential referrals.

There are many different types of restorative justice programs, not only in Alberta but nationally and internationally. This Guide does not address all the variations in describing restorative justice
and its principles nor all the diverse ways these programs are implemented. What is described in this Guide are the most common approaches to restorative justice and the implementation of
restorative justice programs that ARJA has learned in its interaction with organizers, practitioners, and its own research.

The first part of the Guide gives a description of restorative justice and its guiding principles and values. This forms the basis for the second part of the Guide, Starting a Restorative Justice Program. Due to the diversity of restorative justice programs, it is not possible to describe the implementation details for each type of program and for each community. ARJA has chosen general elements common to most programs with some explanations of how it might be implemented.

“Restorative Justice is a compass, not a map,” and so this guide sets directions and options but not specific roads. It is the community leaders and restorative justice practitioners in a given community that best understand the way to build a restorative justice program that will lead to safe and caring communities.

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