Introduction to Restorative Justice – PAX (APA2336.01)

Alisa Del Tufo

Restorative Justice is a set of values and practices that are having a considerable impact on the way our justice system, schools, workplaces, conflict zones and communities think about and enact justice. Restorative Justice asks: What if harm doers were given the opportunity to take responsibility and make amends? If survivors were able to be active participants in defining what justice is and how it could be enacted? Could this help people to heal and move on? And, what  if the larger community was involved in this accountability and healing process? How would this impact our relationships and the character of our communities? It also asks the more elemental question: how can we help people to care more about each other and to heal when harm has been done?

In the current social environment, we are questioning the value and humanity of our current system of “justice”. Given this potential openness to change, it is not enough to say that the American system of punishment, with its focus on incarceration, does not achieve the goals of rehabilitation, healing or repair. Restorative justice claims to provide the structure and philosophy needed to make this transformation to a more meaningful form of justice more real. But what are the philosophical, psychological, social and emotional values, concepts and practices on which it is built and can be mobilized to support that change? How can we ensure as much as possible that restorative justice is actually restorative and what theory and practices are most valuable in that effort?

 This full semester class will expose you to many of the core ideas and practices of restorative justice. It will also involve multiple participatory elements to which you are asked to bring your “best self” including several restorative circles.


Learning Outcomes:
Analysis of current criminal legal system in the US
Overview of the history and philosophy of restorative justice
Examples of restorative justice and their impact
Restorative Justice Practices such as Victim/Offender Dialogue, Community Conferencing, Circles
Ways Restorative Justice is used in schools, the justice system and to build community


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 3:40PM - 5:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 22
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: Advancement of Public Action , Fully In-Person , Peace Studies , All courses
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