How we use the term Restorative Justice, for ourselves and the movement.

A favorite site of mine RJOB,  is a recently updated site that you will find a WEALTH of information regarding Restorative Justice, their library is excellent.  They have “rooms” you visit based on your role in the system or community.  I highly recommend checking this out

Yesterdayat the RJOB blog I found a review of a DVD.  After reading the review I contacted the program that produced it.  Which is Center for Peacemaking and Justice, Fresno CA.  I am familiar with their work, and poked around their website.  I found the manuscript of a speech by Howard Zehr.

Several pieces in Howards speech spoke to me.  One in particular was the fact that maybe it’s okay that Restorative Justice hasn’t hit the tipping point.  He talks about a speech given by Lawerence Sherman addressing why RJ hasn’t taken off.  Howard suggest we focus on our own gardens.  I think that’s a good idea.

One thing that I am seeing, it that the popularity or the success of the words “restorative” and “restorative justice”  is causing people to use it in places that it might not really be restorative.

A friend gave me the suggetion, there is a broad “Webster’s dictionary” use of the word.  He said “I can restore some furniture”.  But he knows me, and he knows the programs enough to know that calling a court ordered service “restorative” doesn’t just make it so.  For a prosecutor, he’s pretty smart sometimes.

Let’s go back to Howards, garden suggestion.  I need to work in my local garden and make sure I am marketing, the true aspects of Restorative Justice.  Locally our program has grown in popularity, in awareness, in application for people.  I think it might be the desire to be associated with Restorative Justice, that has people calling what they do “restorative”.  Not to say that it’s not, but there needs to be more elements of core Restorative Justice.  The typology chart, and this post might help.

Nationally, now we’ve got the LA Times sports page starting an article with the words “Restorative Justice”.  The author is suggesting Restorative Justice be used for the doping scandal.  I must say he did an adequate job of describing RJ.

So you may be new to Restorative Justice or totally submerged.  The value of learning more, articulating what it is and having confidence using it transforms people and perceptions.

Everyone has a learning curve – or a learning stairs.  Once you have learned and used restorative justice you can find ways to bring it to your world.  Catherine is going to share an excellent example of this – her school is using Circles to facilitate a teacher discussion.

The point of the blog is to think about how “tipped” you are for restorative justice.  Go read Howards speech and consider a few of the points he makes.  One I really like is do we use restorative values when the road is smooth, and revert back to punishment when it gets difficult.  He talks about using Restorative Justice in our families, and speading healthy relationships through our communities.

I’m tipped for Restorative Justice.  People worry and warn about me “burning out”.  Literally, I scoff at that.  Taking me from this work would stress me more than getting to do it.  Where are you when it comes to the relationship with restorative justice?