Source: (2009) Plenary presentation at the 12th World Conference of the International Institute for Restorative Practices. Bethlehem, PA.21-23 October 2009.

Do a Google search for the phrase “restorative justice” and you will get over a million “hits” – and this for a term that was virtually nonexistent 25 years ago. Ask what it means and you may get a variety of answers. For many, it implies a meeting between victims of crime and those who have committed those crimes. A family meets with the teenagers who burglarized their home, expressing their feelings and negotiating a plan for repayment. Parents meet with the man who murdered their daughter to tell him the impact and get answers to their questions. A school principal and his family meet with the boys who exploded a pipe bomb in their front yard, narrowly missing the principal and his infant child. The family’s and the neighbors’ fears of a recurrence are put to rest and the boys for the first time understand the enormity of what they have done. (excerpt)

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