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 Churchâ€”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 oldâ€”
restorative justice. As the term indicates, it is a
justice that restores. Restore whatâ€”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 â€œshalomâ€ 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
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