Mark Umbreit on the Meaning of Restorative Justice |TODAY|

Submitted by dan. on 2007-06-29 23:52.
Offender SupportVictim Support
With all these positive developments, though, Umbreit declared that the restorative justice movement is in danger of "losing its soul" and becoming "Restorative Justice Lite." The word victim often isn't even included in planning or documents of some so-called RJ programs, he said, whereas a true restorative justice model is always victim-centered, not focused on the offenders' needs.

Offender rehab is not restorative justice, said Umbreit. Restorative Justice is always victim driven. It's a broad set of principles, but the centrality of victims is at the core.

Umbreit in particular praised the effectiveness of peace making circles, where victims, offenders and other affected parties meet in a mediated setting, but said they're hard to implement in significant volume. He said the process is very helpful to survivors and touches inmates more than most other interventions.

Restorative justice fosters healing and accountability instead of punishment. We are deficit oriented, said Umbreit, focused on identifying and punishing people's shortcomings instead of building on their incredible strength.

Read it all. And look around the great blog Grits for Breakfast for other good restorative justice articles.


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