WHAT IS RESTORATIVE JUSTICE?
From the RCMP's Restorative Justice: Recommitting to Peace and Safety:
"Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by conflict and crime. It views crime as a violation of people and relationships and a disruption of peace in the community and not simply as an offence against the state. Restorative justice is collaborative and inclusive. It involves the participation of those responsible for the harm and those harmed directly and indirectly in finding a solution that repairs and promotes trust and harmony.
The underlying values of restorative justice include respect for the dignity of everyone affected by a crime. Priority is given to addressing the human needs of the participants and to empowering them to communicate their thoughts and feelings in an open and honest way. The goal is to build understanding, to encourage accountability, and to provide an opportunity for healing.
A restorative justice process encourages those responsible for causing harm to take responsibility for their behaviour in a meaningful way, to gain insight into the effects of their behaviour on others, to change this behaviour, and to take steps toward reintegration into the community. Those harmed, meanwhile, are granted a chance to ask questions, to receive answers, to gain understanding, to explain the impact the event has had on them, and to contribute to the outcome of the process. Finally, the process enables the community to reinforce its values and expectations, to understand the underlying causes of crime, and to determine what can be done to repair the damage caused by crime. Restorative justice serves to promote community well-being and to reduce the future incidence of crime."