Source: (2003) In Criminal Justice Ministry: A Congregational Handbook for Jail and Prison Ministry (Criminal Justice Topics for Reflection and Discussion). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Pp. C-5, C-6. Downloaded 12 August 2005.

As people have realized that building more prisons is not the answer to crime, some are looking at a new idea, one that is actually very old— restorative justice. As the term indicates, it is a justice that restores. Restore what—rules that have been broken? No. In fact, at the very heart of the restorative process is a focus on the harm that has been perpetrated on the victim(s), community, and the offender. This heart is the “shalom” of community relationship. Shalom is God-intended living in right-ordered relationships with others and with creation. To repair harm done is to restore shalom. Restorative justice is a totally different way of thinking about crime. Instead of asking, what law was broken, who did it, and what shall we do to punish the offender, restorative justice causes one to ask: What is the harm? What needs to be done to repair the harm? Who is responsible for this repair? (excerpt)