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Restorative justice in higher education: A compilation of formats and best practices

April 10, 2012

….Deciding which RJ tool to use at your University

Main Finding: Look at your current processes and procedures and see how a restorative lens can complement your work. Universities employing Restorative tools and techniques, namely conferencing, hearings, circles, dialogues, and boards, chose the type of RJ that most closely resembled their traditional conduct process. Models used were also based on the comfort level of administrators who would be implementing the program, research and resources available, and influence of other Restorative Processes in Higher Education. Rick Shafer, Associate Director of Student Life at Michigan State University said “Start small! Think simple! How can I infuse restorative principles into what is already happening? Every campus is unique so an expert in one situation may not work in others.”

….Relationship of RJ to the Traditional Conduct System

Main Finding: Restorative Justice is either a central process that all conduct cases go through or an optional process on a spectrum of options for students who have offended. When Restorative Processes are central, there is more consistency and is a sustainable model, but Restorative Justice is no longer voluntary and some students are not developmentally prepared to take responsibility. When Restorative Processes are an option for students, there are more quality cases because students are actively choosing Restorative Justice and are empowered to take responsibility, but Restorative Justice is operating in a silo and impacting less of the university community. Out of 9 universities, 7 use Restorative Justice as a central process and also have concentrated Restorative Justice Processes, such as Conferencing and Circles. 

….Policy and Code Changes

Main Finding: Writing restorative processes and language into policy and conduct codes is an important piece of making Restorative Justice a sustainable part of the university fabric. Because leadership shifts with time, if a Restorative Justice program begins with leadership that leaves the university, it is imperative to have Restorative Processes infused into structure. Language is important when implementing restorative justice in the university setting.

Read the whole guide.


Blog PostCourtsFamiliesManualNorth America and CaribbeanPolicePolicyRJ and Community DisputesRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationStoryTeachers and Students
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