Wait, I Used to Know Restorative Justice?

I was talking with someone the other day about restorative justice (yes, this is what I talk about in my spare time… don’t judge me) and it dawned on me that children are the best examples of the practice of RJ.

If Tommy was running around and breaks Sally’s crayon, Sally says “hey, why did you do that, I wanted that blue crayon” Tommy says “I was not looking where I was going, I did not mean to” Sally says “well you didn’t need to break my crayon, I wanted that” Tommy says “I’m sorry. Here is my blue crayon” Sally says “thank you”.

TADA!!!!! THAT is restorative justice. Something is “broken” and the offender does what they can to restore or repair the damage done.

So why is this such a difficult concept once we reach adulthood? I think one of the largest issues is the “too many cooks” scenario.  Kids learn early that if they yell “Mooooomm” and get her involved that the issue will escalate fast and that the other party will probably “get in trouble”… this tends to carry on throughout life… only instead of Mom, The Law Firms of Blabidy Blah are called.

Asking the victim of a crime what would make them happy AND/OR giving the offender a chance to offer an amends package is a very simple way to clear up many cases… we need to figure out how to handle things on our own without escalating it to the “mom” level.

Talking… talking… talking…. asking… asking… asking…. dialoging is a good thing.


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