Principles of Restorative Justice

The following is taken from an article written by Howard Zehr and Henry Mika, (1998),"Fundamental Concepts in Restorative Justice", in Contemporary Justice Review, Vol. 1.

I. Crime is Fundamentally a Violation of People and Interpersonal Relationships.

Victims and the community have been harmed and are in need of restoration.

Victims, offenders and the affected communities are the key stakeholders in justice.

II. Violations Create Obligations and Liabilities.

Offender's obligations are to make things right as much as possible.

The community's obligations are to victims and to offenders and for the general welfare of its members.

III. Restorative Justice Seeks to Heal and Put Right the Wrongs.

The needs of victims for information, validation, vindication, restitution, testimony, safety and support are the starting points for justice.

The process of justice maximizes opportunities for exchange of information, participation, dialogue and mutual consent between victim and offender.

Offender's needs and competencies are addressed.

The justice process belongs in the community.

Justice is mindful of the outcomes, intended and unintended, of its responses to crime and victimization.

Additionally, Zehr and Mika (1998) note that the following "signposts" are indications that we are moving towards restorative practices: