Restorative Justice: Everything You Need to Know

Through restorative justice, lawbreakers are restored into society by ensuring reconciliation with victims of their offense or with the society at large. Usually, it is a helpful method of keeping kids in the school system and away from the criminal justice system. However, restorative justice doesn’t only have to be a classroom” occurrence. 

For instance, community outreach events that bring youths together, teaching them the importance of peace-making and conflict resolution, will typically improve their overall outlook and approach to life. We must realize the impact which several of these community outreaches have had on communities- helping destroy the cycle of poverty, viciousness, and repeated wrong down, which might have negatively affected these families over several generations. 

A typical example of a body that employs the approach of restorative justice is the Community Organizing and Family Issues Peace Center, which is located in the northern area of Chicago, and is targeted at young people in their formative years. The home base of this organization is a public institution- the Wells Community Academy High School.  Via this initiative, parent facilitators are involved in helping students build strong conflict resolution skills. 

For students to be able to participate in this initiative, they can either be referred by teachers on the basis of attitudinal issues or at-risk status; or send individual requests to be part of the group. The benefit of this initiative is the reduction in suspension & expulsion rates as well as an elimination of the need for students to be removed by law enforcement agents.  Amazingly, when this initiative was analyzed by Roosevelt University, it was discovered that student participants were more likely to achieve academic success and show higher school attendance rates. 

Because the principle of restorative justice involves a hands-on approach whereby students are directly taught practical conflict resolution skills, instead of simply taking the students out of the situation, students who work through this program, are better equipped with the life skills that make them very productive, peaceable members of the community. As such, schools are encouraged to work hand-in-hand with these community groups to establish programs similar to the Peace Center, so as to ensure students remain in the classroom- and have stronger coping mechanisms for proper integration into society. 

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