Restorative justice is a philosophy and approach to addressing harm and wrongdoing that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by the offense and restoring relationships between individuals and the community. Rather than focusing on punishment or retribution, restorative justice seeks to provide a space for open communication, accountability, and understanding between those involved.
The process often involves bringing together the victim, offender, and members of the community in a facilitated dialogue to discuss the harm caused by the offense and work collaboratively to develop a plan for making amends and repairing the harm done. The goal of restorative justice is not only to address the immediate harm caused by the offense but also to prevent future harm and promote healing and reconciliation within the community. Restorative justice is used in a variety of contexts, including criminal justice, education, and community conflict resolution.
VOICE Buffalo seeks to establish systems of Restorative Practices, to serve at-risk youth and parents in poverty through juvenile justice, child welfare, policing, and education systems. Research shows that restorative practices create transformational change for students with challenges, and in order to be effective, we need to work with parents, families, community - not just youth. These practices have a person-centered approach and work whether in schools, community, or virtually.