Unitive Justice FAQ

How does Unitive Justice relate to Restorative Justice?

Restorative justice is a diversified network of global practices. Here’s what most RJ programs have in common:

  • consensual engagement of stakeholders
  • decreased reliance on a punitive judicial model, sometimes operating fully outside a traditional judicial system

Unitive justice falls under the large umbrella of restorative justice but it is a particular model that seeks to achieve system change through an evolution from punitive structures to unitive structures.

How is Unitive Justice used?

Unitive justice is used for conflict resolution, community reconciliation, decision making, expressions of community support, and family reunification–the same settings that use other restorative justice processes. Below is a very powerful example of a program at Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth where circles are used to facilitate the reentry process.

Who are current leaders in the practice?

For excellent models of restorative practice, we recommend Dominic Barter at Restorative Circles, Fania Davis at Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, and Howard Zehr at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peace Building.

What is the Alliance for Unitive Justice?

The Alliance for Unitive Justice is a Virginia non-profit that offers unitive justice services and training. The Alliance was founded on the work of Sylvia Clute and Donna Chewning, with a focus on community building, school programs and court diversion for the greater Richmond area and Roanoke youth. In the Fall of 2015 we launched our first university course that includes both unitive justice theory and circle facilitation training based on unitive principles. These courses have been taught in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at Virginia Union University, and in the graduate School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Today our alliance is expanding, with outreach goals in higher education, grassroots community development and business.

Read more about Unitive Principles