Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice (RJ) offers a different perspective on harm/crimes, victims, and offenders. Unlike the criminal justice system, where crime is seen as a violation of the law and the State and the focus is on which law was broken, by whom and what is the punishment; under the RJ system, crime, conflict is viewed as a violation of people and interpersonal relationships. Such violation creates an obligation, the central obligation being to restore a sense of justice by talking about who was harmed, who did the harm, what are their needs, and how these needs can be met. [1]

Since its application from the 1970s to respond to crimes by children, RJ processes have been applied not just in criminal justice and juvenile justice systems, but also varied spaces like schools and workplaces and is referred to as Restorative Practices. Schools in Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA, are using restorative practices to build a positive, respectful and caring culture. It is used to address bullying, exclusion, and disciplinary issues, but is not confined to just these.

Restorative processes are in alignment with the philosophy and principles of juvenile justice in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act, 2015). In Re: Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu v. Union of India, AIR 2017 SC 2546, the Supreme Court observed,
“There cannot be any meaningful rehabilitation, particularly of a child in conflict with the law who is also a child in need of care and protection unless the basic elements and principles of restorative justice are recognized and practised.”[2]

1. Restorative Circles with children, adolescents, and adults

a. In Schools
b. Within the Juvenile Justice System (JJS)
c. In Child Care Institutions (CCIs)
d. In the Community
e. At the Workplace

2. Training of Stakeholders in Restorative Approaches and Practices

3. Restorative Justice Case Work – see brochures on Restorative Justice Dialogues and Reintegration Circles

4. Naanu Samartha (I am capable) – An Online Life Skills Program for Children in the Juvenile Justice System, conducted by Enfold Proactive Health Trust in partnership with UNICEF office for Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana and support from Department of Women and Child Development, Karnataka (29 October 2020)

To initiate this work in your organization/ community or to learn more about Restorative Approaches, please contact us.