I am continuing to look into the notion of restorative justice. A profound and worthwhile idea. And possibly the following comments have particular relevance for young people, with their speed and vigour, but then again maybe they apply in many contexts. Some of the ingredients – and there are others – that seem to serve the idea of restorative justice well are the following:
As an alternative to punishment, restorative justice does indeed aim to restore. People being connected and belonging to something…a place, a group, a community…is huge for wellbeing. So restorative justice does genuinely seek to restore things to the way they were. And, amongst other things, restore a sense of welcome and connection for the ‘offending’ person. And if it falls short of this mark immediately, it may still do something to help the person regain their sense, albeit initially tentative, of connection, their sense of being part of something. And if a full-blown welcome takes time, then it does. And we can possibly wait productively and peacefully for time to take its course.
Especially with young people, the process of restorative justice works well if it:
Is immediate…or quick or soon
Is short lived, or at least time limited
And the process may need to help people within this process get alongside the idea that the offending and restoring person may need to:
Learn what genuine restoring means
Learn how to do the actual action.. the reparation
Learn, over time, that this is a reasonable result of their actions
Learn that this really does RESTORE things to the way they were…they are now safe, welcomed back and part of something.