Indigenous Roots of Restorative Justice: Potential Approaches for Child Welfare


From The Center for the Study of Social Policy: “One of the most straightforward ways to describe restorative justice is as an alternative to retributive justice, which governs our current punitive justice system. Our current system, often responding to harm done in relationships or crimes, asks three questions: (1) What law was broken?, (2) Who broke it?, and (3) What punishment is warranted? Restorative justice asks different questions, focusing on strengthening relationships between individuals and ties to one another in their communities. It asks us: Who was harmed? What are the needs and responsibilities of all affected? How do the parties together address needs and repair harm?

. . . At the nexus of restorative justice and child welfare lives a relationship that empowers young people, their families, and their communities to lean on each other to heal from adverse experiences in an environment where they support one another and thrive together.”

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