In the U.K., there are a couple of ways to use RJ and each gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers to questions and to receive an apology.
Through “conversations” the police resolve low-level crime without formal proceedings by holding, usually face-to-face, a conversation between offender and victim.
Through “conferences” everyone affected by an incident is invited to a structured meeting to decide what should be done to repair the harm. The offender meets the victim to apologize and help the victim recover from the crime.
A conference or conversation between offender and victims is not as novel as it seems. It wasn’t long ago when police officers walked the beat and became familiar faces in neighborhoods across the country. It wasn’t unusual for the beat officer to bring neighborhood families together who were involved in a dispute to collectively find a solution.
For instance, a couple of teenagers get into a scuffle. Arrest was not routine, instead the teens and their parents were summoned to the police station to work out their differences. Back in the day, it might have been considered common sense — today its restorative justice. Either way it’s the right thing to do.