The concept of Restorative Justice may seem new and unfamiliar for most people, but this system’s roots go as far back into history and is used throughout the world, especially by indigenous cultures. Restorative justice veers away from the punitive system’s methods and instead focuses on bringing back safety and trust and rebuilding lives and the community.
This session’s instructor, Vicki Assegued joins Justice Clearinghouse to talk more about Restorative Justice. Vicki has a Master’s degree in Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution. She’s been working in this area of specialty for two decades where she collaborates with different branches of the criminal justice system, education institutions, communities, and private entities to provide support, consulting and training on restorative justice and other related topics.
On this course, she provides an overview of Restorative Justice and unpacks the processes, benefits, and skills needed. Some of the highlights of the webinar include:
- Restorative justice as an alternative to the punitive system that provides the victims and offenders the opportunity to talk, sort things through and repair the harm.
- The origins of restorative justice and the first modern-day application of the process in Canada for a vandalism case.
- The core philosophy behind restorative justice that looks at the interconnectedness of people, how actions impact others, and our shared responsibility to look after each other.
- How restorative justice allows the people involved to address an incident and correct mistakes done.
- Places where restorative justice is being implemented.
- Restorative Circles where a much bigger group of people – who are either related to the offender and/or the victim or are indirectly affected by the incident – comes together to come up with an agreement to address the issue.
- The concept of parent-teen mediation, how it is done and what are the topics commonly discussed in it.
- The steps of the full victim-offender dialogue process and an example as it happened in a shoplifting case.
- The types of cases that restorative justice can address in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
- How restorative justice can be implemented in family re-entry meetings and used as a diversion from the justice system for first-time, low-level offenders.
- Integrating restorative justice with the current justice system for more serious cases.
- Ways that restorative justice supports victims of serious crime in their healing process and the concept of forgiveness.
- How restorative justice benefits the offenders by acknowledging their humanity, teaching them to reflect and have better foresight, and allowing them to understand the impact of their actions.
- The impact of crimes on whole communities and how the community can utilize restorative justice to rebuild and safeguard the community.
- The benefits of restorative justice on probation officers, and the common themes, techniques, and goals between probation and restorative justice.
- Comparing and contrasting the goals and strategies of restorative and punitive justice.
- Helpful tips and communication skills for restorative justice facilitators.
- Testimonials from people whose lives were positively impacted by restorative justice.
- The different services and training that Vicki can provide.
- Questions that Vicki answered are related to:
- The number of sessions where victims meet with the offenders
- The victim’s willingness to work with the offender
- The types of cases qualified for restorative justice and working with both ‘low-level crime’ and more serious felonies.
- How the dialog lets both victim and offender share all their thoughts and feelings in a controlled, facilitated environment.
- Working in cases where there are multiple victims and/or offenders.
- Dealing with an offender who isn’t remorseful.
- Helpful resources for the field.
Resources Mentioned During Webinar: