Restorative Justice FAQ

What is 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

How is Restorative Justice used?

The application of restorative justice is very versatile. The most well-known form is victim-offender mediation, where a person who is found guilty by the state conferences with the state-recognize victim of that crime. The process, however, is adaptable to a wide range of situations, including community reconciliation, decision making, expressions of community support, and family reunification. 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 restorative justice services and training that are based on Unitive Principles. 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 restorative justice theory and circle facilitation training based on unitive principles. That course has laid the foundation for an ongoing partnership between AUJ and the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at Virginia Union University, as we begin to teach circle facilitation using unitive principles to VUU students who are studying restorative justice.

Today our alliance is expanding, with outreach goals in higher education and grassroots community development. A full list of our community partners will be posted here soon.

Read more about Unitive Principles