Restorative Justice

Restorative justice encompasses the variety of methods which seek justice through cooperative, inclusive processes. Justice sought in this manner attempts to re-balance and repair individual and community relationships.

Problems and Purpose

Restorative justice is defined by the International Centre for Justice and Reconciliation as "a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior. It is best accomplished through cooperative processes that allow all willing stakeholders to meet, although other approaches are available when that is impossible. This can lead to transformation of people, relationships and communities." It's four major tenants - "inclusion of all parties, encountering the other side, making amends for the harm, [and] reintegration of the parties into their communities" - make this method of justice inherently participatory.[1]

Restorative Justice differs from standard approaches to justice in its focus on accountability that goes beyond simply being punished for the crime. Instead, the emphasis is on actively making reparations for the harm caused. Central to the concept is that idea of healing both the victim and the perpetrator [2]. 

Origins and Development

Participant Recruitment and Selection

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also

A case study of the restorative justice 'Gacaca Courts' in Rwanda

Traditional Governance Systems


[1] Centre for Justice and Reconciliation at Prison Fellowship International. Lesson 1: What Is Restorative Justice?

[2] Ministry of Justice, Government of Jamaica (n.d.). Understanding Restorative Justice as a Concept of Justice. Retrieved from

External Links

Understanding Restorative Justice as a Concept of Justice

Centre for Justice and Reconciliation at Prison Fellowship International: What Is Restorative Justice?