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Restorative Justice

The fundamental unifying hypothesis of restorative practices is that “human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.” Wachtel

Restorative Justice - Services Provided

The various fields employ different terms, all of which fall under the rubric of restorative practices: In the criminal justice field, the phrase used is “restorative justice” (Zehr, 1990); in social work, the term employed is “empowerment” (Simon, 1994); in education, talk is of “positive discipline” (Nelsen, 1996) or “the responsive classroom” (Charney, 1992); and in organizational leadership, “horizontal management” (Denton, 1998) is referenced.


The social science of restorative practices recognizes all of these perspectives and incorporates them into its scope. IIRP

Criminal Justice

In criminal justice, restorative circles and restorative conferences allow victims (those harmed), offenders (those who have caused harm) and their respective family members and friends to come together to explore how everyone has been affected by an offense and, when possible, to decide how to repair the harm and meet their own needs (McCold, 2003). 

  • Consultation includes preparing for a circle or conference, judging appropriateness, coaching, assisting, and facilitating.

Social Work

In social work, family group conferencing (FGC) processes empower extended families to meet privately, without professionals in the room, to make a plan to protect children in their own families from further dysfunction or to avoid residential placement outside their own homes (American Humane Association, 2003).


In education, circles and groups provide opportunities for students to share their feelings, build relationships and solve problems, and when there is wrongdoing, to play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right (Riestenberg, 2002).

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