Source: (2005) Criminal Justice Periodicals 69,2

Restorative justice is an increasingly important alternative approach to responding to criminal offenses (Bazemore & Umbreit, 1995). While the retributive and rehabilitative models focus on the punishment or rehabilitation of the offender, they neglect the needs of the victims. In contrast, for hundreds of years, indigenous populations in New Zealand, the United States, and Canada used rituals to bring together family and friends of both victims and offender to search for a resolution to the problem that was acceptable to all involved. Initial restorative justice programs focused largely on victim offender mediation and on providing restitution to victims. The conceptualization of restorative justice has expanded both its initial formulation and program services over the last 20 years with a broader range of policies and practices being adapted by an increasing number of jurisdictions (Bazemore & Schiff, 2001; Umbreit, Coates & Voss, 2002). Restorative justice assumes that criminal offenses are first a violation of people and relationships and not just in the domain of the state. The restorative model reconceptualizes the purpose of justice by focusing on the three major stakeholders in the process of restoration and healing: the victim, offender, and community (Zehr, 2002). (excerpt)