Back to RJ Archive

Restorative Justice? What’s That?

Zehr, Howard
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Plenary presentation at the 12th World Conference of the International Institute for Restorative Practices. Bethlehem, PA.21-23 October 2009.

Do a Google search for the phrase “restorative justice” and you will get over a million “hits” – and this for a term that was virtually nonexistent 25 years ago. Ask what it means and you may get a variety of answers.

For many, it implies a meeting between victims of crime and those who have committed those crimes. A family meets with the teenagers who burglarized their home, expressing their feelings and negotiating a plan for repayment. Parents meet with the man who murdered their daughter to tell him the impact and get answers to their questions. A school principal and his family meet with the boys who exploded a pipe bomb in their front yard, narrowly missing the principal and his infant child. The family’s and the neighbors’ fears of a recurrence are put to rest and the boys for the first time understand the enormity of what they have done. (excerpt)


AbstractDefinition of RJPrisonsRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ TheoryStatutes and LegislationTeachers and Students
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now