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Restorative Justice as an Inside Job

Updated: Oct 17, 2018

Practicing Restorative Justice starts as an inside job, discovering and refining how we view others, in all aspects, including their circumstances, actions, philosophies, responses, values, ideas, skills and abilities.

Our internal attitude towards those we are supporting through the RJ process makes a huge difference in how we facilitate and in what they experience.

The following list describes some of the foundational thoughts we can choose to have in order to honor all participants fully and equally, thereby providing an effective and constructive RJ process as well as being a role model for humanistic communication.

  • See the best in everyone.

  • Give people the benefit of the doubt.

  • Don’t analyze – take people at face value.

  • Respect everyone as the experts in their own lives.

  • Find out what’s important to people and respect their priorities.

  • Give room for people to grow, transform, change or stay the same.

  • Be multi-partial, meaning care equally for everyone in the process.

  • Refrain from giving opinions – instead find out what their opinions are.

  • Rather than making assumptions, be curious to learn about each person.

  • Focus on the value and agency of all people, individually and collectively.

  • Let the teachable moment come from them rather than telling them what it is.

  • Focus on success rather than failure. Focus on solutions rather than problems.

  • Listen deeply to each person’s experience without blame, judgment or comparison.

  • Notice any biases you may have and learn to put them aside, so you can see and treat everyone equally.

  • Don’t try to change people. Instead, encourage conversation so people can explore how they may want to change themselves.

  • Rather than giving advice, or telling people what they “should” do, ask open questions to encourage people to find their own answers.

  • Instead of thinking, “When they’re older, they’ll understand,” think, “I respect their current age and level of development and will work with them, exactly as they are, at this moment in time.”

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