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Restorative justice and the quickening pace of change

February 25, 2013

“Where the logic of restorative systems is not yet self evident it takes conscious thought and investment or appropriation of resources to set them up. Setting up a social system against the grain of presumed thinking is swimming against the current.” He goes on to say that 80 percent of our energy is spent just staying still, working to not be overwhelmed by the retributive systems that are so prevalent they have the illusion of being our natural state.

I realized on reading the post where my energy was going. It isn’t that progress is slow, or that we are wasting our efforts. Instead, we are working to set up a system within and alongside an existing system, and the fruits of that labor aren’t easy to measure or even see. Lessons from my earlier training have begun to resurface, especially about the steps needed to begin the work.

I do, in fact, have the instruction manual, and it tells me not to rush this work, but instead remember that it is a collaborative process. Remembering this has let me relax, at least a little bit, and the space created by relaxing has allowed me to remember two things. One is to identify sources of power in a system and engage them. This we have done, and have found cooperation and a desire to help. The second is to find where the restorative flame is alive and work to support and strengthen it. We have seen this flame in judges, victim advocates and people of the community.

Read the whole article.


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