• ADR and mediation usually assume that there is a kind of moral balance between parties.  RJ assumes that all participants are moral agents and acknowledges that moral responsibility may be shared; however, there is usually a moral imbalance that must be explicitly acknowledged.  Someone has caused harm and someone has been harmed, and that fact is placed in the center of the encounter.
  • Because of this moral imbalance, the “neutral” language of ADR can be difficult in criminal cases, especially in situations of severe violence.  Someone who has lost a child through murder and is being invited to meet with the person responsible may find the language of “mediation” to be offensive.
  • Although all parties may have some responsibility for the event and/or the outcomes, RJ usually provides space for wrongdoing to be named.  Also, the process is designed to ensure that satisfactory and appropriate accountability occurs.  In my experience, this is rarely part of ADR  – though it could be.
  • ADR often envisions its facilitators as neutral or impartial; RJ practitioners are more likely to see their role, in the language of Dave Gustafson, as “balanced partiality.”  RJ facilitators cannot be neutral or impartial about the harm that was done, yet must care equally for and support all parties....
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