Restorative justice is a distinct form of conflict resolution that aims to redirect society's retributive response to harm. For example, crime, in the context of restorative justice, is not considered just an offense against the state but rather is viewed as a wrong against another person and indicative of a broken relationship between the offender, victim, and community.
Accordingly, restorative justice practice seeks to elevate the role of victims and community members, hold offenders directly accountable for their harm(s), and restore, to the extent possible, the emotional and material losses of victims through dialogue and problem solving.
Across the country restorative justice has emerged as an alternative approach to addressing harm in public systems (i.e., juvenile and criminal justice, education, child welfare) and in community-based settings.
This has increasingly placed lawyers (and judges) in the role of decision makers regarding the use of restorative justice at different stages of the juvenile and criminal justice process (i.e., pre-trial diversion, deferred adjudication, sentencing, and reentry); architects of restorative justice (i.e., community courts); policymakers implementing and integrating restorative responses into legislation; and practitioners of restorative justice in a variety of settings.