Restorative Justice in the Criminal Justice System
A restorative justice conference is a meeting between the defendant and the victim, each with their support people. Trained facilitators work in pairs to facilitate the meeting.
The facilitators help the victim and the offender talk about the offence and the issues around it. The victim gets a chance to talk about how they have been affected by the offence and has a say in how the harm can be repaired. The defendant has a chance to accept responsibility for what they have done and can offer to try to put things right for the victim.
The aim is for the victim and defendant to come to an agreement about a way forward. Sometimes this includes an agreement on a plan for how the defendant can put things right.
Restorative Practices in Education
Restorative practice in schools puts into action a philosophy that places respectful relationships at the heart of the educational experience. For young people to succeed, they must believe you care about them, you have confidence in their ability to solve problems, and experience mutual respect. Strong teaching and learning relationships must exist. The stronger the relationship, the easier it is to resolve differences. The Restorative process is a way of building, maintaining and restoring relationships and is dependant upon a social climate that is reparative rather then punitive.
Restorative practices can operate as a continuum within schools from high-end conferencing around serious misconduct and harm through to the very low level everyday interactions students and teachers have with one another. This school wide approach is fostered by a culture of care and an outworking of the values that schools stand on.