I’ve always been a writer in one way or another, and I’ve always been an activist for social justice, fighting to end mass incarceration and create a safer world. One of the most exciting aspects of that work is in the growth and development of restorative practices, also known as restorative justice.
Restorative practices are a set of principles that people and communities can use to address conflict and harm. Like any good tool for addressing the hard things that happen between people, the foundation of restorative practices is to build strong and durable relationships among people, so that they’re better equipped to handle painful conversations and difficult decision-making. A central theme of restorative practices is that they recognize the humanity of all people, which may seem simple, but tends not to be the case with systems that are based in punishment. Restorative practices, on the other hand, are about leading people to accountability and healing, rather than punishment.
Restorative practices are a way of life that’s older than my grandpa and, for most people in the United States today, fresh and new. Like so many important movements for justice, young people are providing important leadership in using restorative practices, and in shaping the way our country understands them. To learn more, check out the resources below.
Here is a great demonstration of how young folks are really using "RJ" in their schools, and taking the practice to their communities. These incredible teens understand how transformative this practice can be.
Many of us have heard the term "zero tolerance." It is an antiquated way to (un)resolve issues. Luckily, many school districts are embracing true restorative justice practices, making conflict resolution an attainable goal.