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Restorative Justice

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
By
Connie Williams

Presented at the National Institution of Corrections Teleconference on Restorative Justice, December 12, 1996, were the “Basic Values of Restorative Justice”. They are as follows:
(1). Crime is an offense against human relationships.
(2). Victims and the community are central to the justice process.
(3). Thefirst priority of the justice system is to assist victims.
(4). The second priority is to restore the community, to the degree possible.
(5). The offender has personal responsibility to victims and to the community for crimes committed.
(6). Stakeholders share responsibilities for Restorative Justice through partnerships for action.
(7). The offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a result of the Restorative Justice experience.
Restorative Justice is an intellectual rather than an emotional approach to criminal justice. It is an avenue of reform that is comparable to an infant in its evolution. Medically we still are exploring the human brain and the linkages in it that create morality, reciprocity, and aggression. Only learned men and women without prejudices can in most cases judge whether another man is capable of reform or is a true threat to our societal goals. Kay Pranis, the Restorative Justice Planner from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, believes like others in the reformative movement in the concept of building a new understanding of justice based on a foundation of democracy, caring, and mutual responsibility.
The state of Vermont is blazing, and will continue to blaze, new frontiers in the Reformative Justice Model that is now implemented in the states correctional policies. John F. Gorczyk, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections, and Dave Peebles, the director of planning for the department, opened a conference on July 25, 1998 at Dartmouth College on Reparative Justice. They presented the theory an…

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