Restorative Justice at Open Door

20 Nov, 2013

17-22 November is Restorative Justice Week and last night Open Door marked the occasion with an in-depth look at what it means to use RJ to deal with crime and its effects.

Some 35 people were split into four groups and each group assigned one of the following roles:

  1. Victim
  2. Offender
  3. Community
  4. Restorative Justice Group

A crime scenario was read out and distributed to all the participants and then we were given twenty minutes to discuss and explore the Restorative Justice treatment of the crime in our groups from our different perspectives.

The evening was well appreciated with lots of discussion and interaction among and between the groups.  At the end of the night the difference between how crime is treated under Restorative Justice as opposed to under Criminal Justice – the current process – was better understood by all.


Restorative Justice

  • Crime is a violation of people and relationships
  • Violations create obligations
  • Justice involves victims, offenders, and community members in an effort to put things right
  • Central focus: victim needs and offender responsibility for repairing harm.

Criminal Justice

  • Crime is a violation of the law and the state
  • Violations create guilt
  • Justice requires the state to determine blame (guilt) and impose pain (punishment)
  • Central Focus: offenders getting what they deserve

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