What Is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is an approach to crime and wrongdoing that not only engages victims, offenders and their affected communities, but it is in fact governed by these three stakeholders. Restorative justice is about turning our attention and resources toward first recognizing harms experienced through crime, and then creating the conditions for that harm to be repaired, with a focus on righting relationships which have been thrown out of balance through harmful actions.

The result:real solutions that provide support and answers for victims, a plan to repair the harm that has been done and requires offenders to take responsiblity for their actions. Restorative justice is cost-effective, shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and reduces the offender re-offense rate from a national average of 60% to only 10%. Restorative Justice emphasizes the way in which crimes affect not only people, but also the community in which they liv.

This is good old fashioned community problem solving, and Colorado is leading the field. Welcome to the conversation.

Colorado Restorative Justice Promo
Traditional criminal justice systems ask:
What laws have been broken?
Who did it?
What punishment do they deserve?

Restorative Justice asks:
Who has been hurt?
What are their needs?
Whose obligation is it to meet those needs?

The aim of Restorative Justice is not forgiveness or reconciliation, although these are not uncommon outcomes of restorative justice processes. Restorative Justice is about addressing the needs of the victim(s) and the community. While Restorative Justice is focused on repairing the harm experienced by the victim, it also provides a unique opportunity for offenders to take accountability, make things right and integrate back into their community with a renewed sense of responsibility and dignity. Engaging victims, offenders and their affected communities is done using processes that preserve the respect and safety of all involved.

Restorative Justice is not for everyone, although its power is evident when considering the variety of its manifestation in Colorado: in our police and probation departments, victim’s services, principles offices, classrooms, court systems, playgrounds and neighborhoods. For those who do choose restorative justice practices, the choice is often transformative. Perhaps one of the best ways to learn how restorative justice is being used and how exactly it serves those involved is through the testimonials of those who have used it. On each of the menu tabs you will find a 4 to 6 minute mini-documentary giving real-life examples of how restorative justice is experienced by those who partake.

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