Restorative justice

Restorative justice is an alternative dispute resolution approach that focuses on the needs of those affected by crime. If you’ve been involved in a conflict or crime, the restorative justice process:

  • allows you to meet voluntarily with the others involved
  • gives you the chance to deal with the harm it's caused and helps you to heal

Meetings

A restorative justice meeting can be attended by:

  • the victim
  • the offender
  • a family member of the victim or offender
  • members of the community

The process is voluntary – you can back out of a meeting at any time.

Everyone has an equal opportunity to speak in a meeting. In it, you'll identify:

  • the harm caused by the incident – physical, mental, emotional or spiritual
  • what can be done to repair the harm
  • who’s responsible among those involved to repair the harm

Origins and results

With its origins in Aboriginal justice, the use and acceptance of restorative justice has grown greatly over the last 10 years in Alberta. For example, our province has the largest network of youth justice committees in Canada.

Research on restorative justice shows that:

  • the chances of an offender committing another crime after going through the process are reduced
  • victims and offenders are highly satisfied with the process
  • victims are much more likely to get restitution for the criminal act

Tools and Resources