What is restorative justice?
Restorative or community justice is a set of principles and practices that help communities address crime, conflict and other issues or challenges. Traditionally, restorative justice sessions involve victims, offenders and community stakeholders to address issues and repair harm. Restorative Justice emphasizes one key fact: Crime and conflict damages people, communities and relationships.
Restorative justice can be parallel or alternative to the traditional criminal justice system. Each community is unique. Restorative processes can be used to address everything from prevention work and low-severity violations such as underage drinking, to specific cases of crime and conflict, including disorderly conduct, trespassing and theft. While offenders may have obligations due to the incident or situation, services are ultimately voluntary to all participants.
SCV Restorative Justice works with agencies in Pierce and St. Croix Counties. Our sessions are community-based, focusing on offender accountability and identifying constructive responses to crime and conflict.
- What happened?
- Who was affected?
- What needs to happen to make things right or better?
The traditional criminal justice system is concerned with public safety and answering the following questions:
- What law was broken?
- How should the responsible party be punished?
Because of these questions, many individuals believe that restorative justice is especially well-suited for first-time or juvenile offenders.