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Restorative Justice and Thrift Shops

Loewen, James
June 4, 2015

Source: (-0001) Mennonite Central Committee, Canada.

As a member of MCC Canada, and a long time admirer of MCC and its work, I have always valued the Thrift Shops. They have major benefits in all kinds of ways for MCC’s work and also reflect our concerns in a very practical and meaningful way. Perhaps a newer awareness and concern of MCC could also find itself reflected within the important work of the Thrift Shops. Restorative Justice is by no means new as a concept, though the programs and terminology are new, the oldest program being a mere 35 years old. Still, 35 years is long enough to wonder if it isn’t time we started applying Restorative Justice to the harm we see happening in the Thrift Shops through shoplifting. Restorative Justice is concerned about the real needs of the three parties most directly involved in the harm, the person who caused the harm, the person(s) who received the harm, and the community(ies) in which the harm took place. Meaningful accountability and amends for the one who harmed, healing, safety, and restitution for the one harmed, and a sense that something meaningful was done for the community are all vital aspects of any Restorative Justice Program. When we look at the values of Restorative Justice and the Thrift Shops we can see some important similarities. (excerpt)


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