Source: (2002) Corrections Compendium. 27(8): 6-7.
For the purposes of this article, “restorative justice” is defined as “an approach to justice that focuses on repairing the harm caused by crime while holding the offender responsible for his or her actions by providing an opportunity for the parties directly affected by a crime — the victim(s), offender, and community — to identify and address their needs in the aftermath of the crime, and seek a resolution that affords healing, reparation, and reintegration, and prevents future harm.” Canada does not view restorative justice as a program or even a series of programs, but rather a philosophical approach to justice that incorporates responsibility, inclusiveness, openness, trust, hope, and healing. Canada bases restorative justice on one of three core models: victim-offenders mediation, family group conferencing, and circles. In Canada, however, restorative justice is not universally accepted. Even while the search for empirical support for restorative justice continues, so does the debate about its effectiveness. Restorative justice has a compelling philosophical basis that is rooted in fundamental values of respect for human dignity, honesty, openness, responsibility, caring, and the healing of relationships. The key to the future of restorative justice is further research and evaluation. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.
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