3 assumptions underlie restorative justice:

  • When people and relationships are harmed, needs are created

  • The needs created by harms lead to obligations

  • The obligation is to heal and “put right” the harms; this is a just response.

3 principles of restorative justice reflect these assumptions: A just response…

  • acknowledges and repairs the harm caused by, and revealed by, wrongdoing (restoration);

  • encourages appropriate responsibility for addressing needs and repairing the harm (accountability);

  • involves those impacted, including the community, in the resolution (engagement).

3 underlying values provide the foundation:

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Relationship

3 questions are central to restorative justice:

  • Who has been hurt?

  • What are their needs?

  • Who has the obligation to address the needs, to put right the harms, to restore relationships? (As opposed to: What rules were broken? Who did it? What do they deserve?)

3 stakeholder groups should be considered and/or involved:

  • Those who have been harmed, and their families

  • Those who have caused harm, and their families

  • Community

3 aspirations guide restorative justice: the desire to live in right relationship…

  • with one another;

  • with the creation;

  • with the Creator.

Read Howard's whole article, which addresses other definitional matters.