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Restorative justice and tribal law

August 8, 2009

In Navajo, there is a term, ná bináhaazláo which means providing parties with a sense of completeness or comprehensiveness. It also means fairness and doing whatever is necessary in coming to a comprehensive solution. The tribal courts are charged with ná bináhaazláo through restorative justice. In Hopi, the offender’s accountability – QaHopit qa’antipu’at – and bringing the offender back into the community – QaHopit ahoy kiimmi pavnaya — are deep-rooted justice principles.

This means there is a circle of responsibilities, beginning with law enforcement and prosecution, the judiciary being responsible for accountability and bringing the offender back into the community through sentencing, and probation and parole services ensuring that the judiciary’s conditions are fulfilled. These components integrate and coordinate with mental health, social service, behavioral health professionals and traditional counselors where necessary; given the very high rate of alcohol and substance abuse disorders implicated in Indian Country crime, integration is needed in almost all instances…..

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