Source: (2011) Contemporary Justice Review. 14(3):307-328.

In the field of restorative justice (RJ) there is regular debate regarding the terms restorative and justice. In spite of efforts to come to a common vision, this ongoing discussion illustrates how theoretical and practical disagreements have resulted in RJ being characterized as ambiguous and inconsistent within the judicial context and beyond. Arising out of research conducted in an educational context, this paper identifies the impact of this ambiguity on educators. More importantly, however, it examines the term justice and discovers that an overemphasis on justice as fairness and individual rights has pulled the field off-course. What is needed is a broader understanding of justice, one in which justice is identified as honoring the inherent worth of all and enacted through relationship. If understood as such, the terms restorative and justice when paired serve as a much-needed compass needle that guides proponents of RJ in the field to their desired destinations. (author's abstract)