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“A process where all the stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm” (Braithwaite). RJ prioritizes the repair of ruptured relationships among victim, offender, and community as caused by harm. It is based on the desire to restore dignity, peace, and security to all actors involved following harm.  Restorative justice often encompasses a victim-centered approach and can be traced back to the practices of many indigenous communities, leading to a “set of principles, philosophy and an alternate set of guiding questions…[that] provides an alternative framework for thinking about justice and wrongdoing” (Zehr, 2002, p. 3). 

-Restorative justice practices

Any practice or mechanism that includes restorative principles. Restorative practices also often encompass talking circles, in which a group of people sit in a circle to discuss a particular topic in a semi-structured format. Talking circles may be facilitated by one or two individuals, but is conducted in a horizontal manner where everyone has equal opportunity to participate, including facilitators. Talking circles often use a talking piece, which is frequently an object that has emotional value to one or more participants. The talking piece is framed as an invitation to speak for the person holding it and an invitation to listen for those not holding it.

Restorative Principles (from Kay Pranis)

  1. “The true self in everyone is good, wise, and powerful”
  2. “The world is profoundly interconnected (Ubuntu [Bantu language]) – I am because we are”
  3. “All human beings have a deep desire to be in a good relationship”
  4. “All human beings have gifts and everyone is needed for what they bring”
  5. “Everything we need to make a positive change is already here
  6. “Human beings are holistic”
  7. “We need practices to build habits of living from the core self”
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