Source: (2005) In Elizabeth Elliott and Robert M. Gordon, eds., New Directions in Restorative Justice: Issues, Practice, Evaluation. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 26-52.
Tyler’s work on procedural justice shows that individuals care about justice because of concerns over social status, i.e., the value attributed to their roles and characteristics within the institutions of which they are a part. Braithwaite’s reintegrative shaming theory argues that shame over wrongdoing is related to an individual’s sense of belonging within the relevant institutional group, such as family or school. Shame acknowledgement is associated with taking responsibility for behavior and making appropriate amends; shame displacement is associated with retaliatory anger, externalizing blame, and displaced anger. Restorative justice is the means for implementing procedural justice and constructively managing shame within a school community. Margaret Thorsborne, a school guidance officer in a high school in Queensland, Australia, introduced restorative justice to her school in 1994. She established the first school-based restorative justice conference to address the issues raised by a serious assault at a school dance. The offender and victim, along with their parents, met together to discuss what happened and what to do about it. The outcome was to remedy the harms caused while addressing the issues underlying the bullying behavior of the offender. Since that time, the use of restorative justice conferencing in schools has developed in many countries to address such school issues as vandalism, theft, bullying, drug-related incidents, and violence. Restorative justice provides procedural justice by affirming the social status of both victims and offenders within the school community, by remedying the harms caused, and by providing a constructive means of managing the shame caused by the offender’s temporary loss of status due to his/her behavior. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov.
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