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“Restorative justice, social justice, and the empowerment of marginalized populations.”

Pranis, Kay
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff, 287-306. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.

Some have challenged the notion of restorative justice as inadequately dealing with social and structural inequalities that are seen as causal factors in the incidence of crime. Pranis responds in this essay by contending that restorative justice has the potential to address social justice concerns. For this to happen, she believes that two things are necessary: clear links between values and practices; and vital communication from those who do not have equal access to resources and power. With these things in view, Pranis relates principles of restorative justice to social justice issues. She characterizes restorative processes as grassroots democracy at work. She discusses this with respect to limitations in democracy conceived in terms of majority rule, strengths of consensus processes, and redistribution of power and accountability. Restorative justice has the potential to foster new conditions and capacities for communities. These conditions and capacities include community dialogue, community responsibility, and community good. Noting strategic differences between traditional social justice activism and restorative justice, Pranis advances a restorative paradigm for social justice. As parts of this paradigm, she includes a vision for radical change and a rootedness in spirituality (defined in terms separate from religion).


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