Restoring Community in America: Restorative Justice Stories of Healing and Wholeness

RESTORING COMMUNITY IN AMERICA: Restorative Justice Stories of Healing, Wholeness, and Belonging

RESTORING COMMUNITY IN AMERICA: Restorative Justice Stories of Healing, Wholeness, and Belonging

Many Americans are feeling an urgent need for new approaches to achieving safety and justice. There is growing awareness of the damage our criminal justice system causes not just those who are arrested and imprisoned, but also their families and communities. More and more people are demanding a complete reimagining of our legal system.

One of today's best-kept secrets is that alternatives to the criminal justice system exist-and they work. In communities around the country, probation and police departments are using restorative justice to divert youth from prosecution. Schools are using restorative practices to prevent misbehavior and to repair the consequences of that misbehavior. Suspensions are reduced and classrooms are safer. There is data that shows these successes. And yet, too many people working with youth and adults in these settings still do not understand the potential of restorative practices.

Especially during this time of unrest, stories are needed to demonstrate the data. Although other books have been written about restorative justice, Restoring Community in America is devoted to telling actual stories of the power of reconciliation and earned redemption through restorative practices. Joseph Campbell once said, "If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor." Restorative justice "changes the metaphor" by asking different questions when a harm occurs. Rather than asking "What law or rule was broken? Who did it? How will we punish them?" restorative justice asks, "What harm was done? How can the harm be repaired? Who is responsible?" The answers to these questions inevitably steer us toward different outcomes.

The stories in this anthology show how asking the right questions can yield much more satisfying answers for those who have either experienced or committed harm. They will demonstrate to readers how restorative justice can change people's lives, shape communities, and offer hope for those demanding change. It will change the metaphor.