Restorative Justice (RJ) defines crime not just as an offence against the laws of the state, but as an act committed against an individual victim, and the community. Restorative Justice responds to crime by focusing on who has been harmed and how they have been affected by crime, not just what law has been broken and who should be punished. Restorative Justice is a justice of participation: victim, offender and community are all involved.
Our criminal justice system’s current approach doesn’t address the impact of crime and the harm it causes to victims and communities. An offender may be punished and successfully complete his sentence, but this doesn’t necessarily meet victim needs, repair the harm done, or increase the public’s sense of safety or satisfaction with the criminal justice system.
Restorative Justice’s Response
Restorative Justice aims to repair and heal the harm caused by crime. The victim and the offender, along with their supports, and community members impacted by the crime, come together to join in a dialogue process. This process can include victim-offender restorative dialogue, community conferencing, or sentencing circles. Facilitators guide the process.
Partners in Restorative Justice
The RJ process requires the participation and efforts of many individuals and organizations. Restorative Justice programs work with victims, offenders, their supports, community members, the criminal justice system, Victim Services and other community organizations.
MRJC’s Restorative Justice Programs
Principles of Restorative Justice
- Hold the offender accountable to the victim and the community harmed or impacted by the crime
- Require the offender to take responsibility for “making things right” as much as possible
- Give the victim a voice, and access to justice, by allowing the victim to participate in how the offender will be made accountable and redress the harm
- Invite the community to join in supporting the victim, holding the offender accountable, and providing opportunities for the offender to rejoin the community