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Potential Benefits of Restorative Justice Dialogue

Those who caused harm can:
  • develop empathy and a deeper understanding of the wider ramifications of their actions

  • become accountable and accept responsibility

  • express their remorse to those who have been harmed by their actions

  • collaborate with those who were harmed and others to develop and follow through with an agreement to make things right

  • offer their services to community organizations through volunteer work

  • develop competency

  • be internally motivated to not re-offend, to change their behaviors and to turn their lives around

  • feel more positive and hopeful about their futures

  • build self-esteem

  • re-build the trust that has been broken with others

  • feel supported by and re-integrated back into their community.

Those who were harmed can:
  • be empowered by being given a voice in the justice process

  • share their experience and express their feelings directly to the responsible person

  • learn new information about the incident

  • directly hear and experience the remorse of the person who caused the harm

  • collaborate with them and others to develop an agreement for things to be made right

  • be offered opportunities for repairing damaged relationships

  • be validated, included and supported; reduce the cycle of revenge

  • experience great relief

  • feel re-integrated into their community

  • re-gain their sense of safety and trust in the world

  • be restored towards their life as it used to be before the incident.

Support people and other community members can:
  • feel empowered by experiencing their important role in the justice process

  • have a voice in expressing their feelings and experience of the incident

  • work with the parties to problem-solve and develop an agreement plan

  • examine the conditions that may have led to the harmful behavior and seek to remedy those conditions thereby reducing the likelihood of further harm

  • feel safer in their schools and neighborhoods

  • develop a stronger sense of inclusion/involvement and success in their social networks and in the campus justice system

  • re-build their trust in the person who caused harm 

  • be given opportunities to support the harmed party

  • feel the pride and inspiration of being part of the solution

  • create a sense of community even where it may not have existed previously.

The outcomes for all include:
  • lower recidivism rates

  • lower suspension, expulsion and incarceration rates

  • effective, low-cost justice alternatives

  • safer schools and neighborhoods

  • renewed focus on academic success

  • stronger and more inter-connected individuals and communities

  • higher rates of compliance by those who caused harm

  • higher rates of satisfaction and feelings of safety among those who were harmed

  • smoother and more successful reintegration

  • reduced case load for school authorities, probation, police and the courts

  • more help for the community when students offer volunteer services in order to repair the harm

  • harnessing the power of the university community to complement the university administration

  • strengthened relationships between schools and the community

  • improved public trust in the school justice process

  • solid support for all people who have suffered from the effects of broken rules/crime

  • people moving away from their fear and into their trust for each other

  • overall transformation for all concerned parties after a harmful incident has occurred.

Restorative Justice brings together those who caused harm, with those who were harmed, for a facilitated, constructive and supportive dialogue to discuss the impact on everyone, their hopes for moving forward and mutually agreed upon solutions for making things right. This effective process, which is based on indigenous traditions, focuses on healing and transformation rather than retribution.

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