Restorative justice

What is restorative justice?

Restorative practice means bringing together persons who were harmed with those who did the harm whether it was physical, verbal or emotional. It means sitting down together and discussing what happened, what harm was done and how to restore right relationship among all the persons involved. Restorative justice changes the focus from rule of law, blame and punishment to harm caused, obligations and healing.
(Adapted from Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr.)

Restorative justice & campus conduct

During the restorative justice review the Restorative Justice Coordinator determines if the case is appropriate for a restorative justice (RJ) action. Actions include; restorative justice outcomes (community service, restitution), mediation and/or the use of circle processes. If the case is deemed appropriate for a restorative justice action, the case is turned over to a facilitator acting under the supervision of the restorative justice coordinator.

  • Pre-Conferencing

    Once the case is turned over to the facilitator, the offender is contacted and a pre-conference meeting is held. If the offender is willing to continue with the restorative action and the facilitator deems the action appropriate for the case, the facilitator will contact the victim (individual, teacher, university representative) and a pre-conference session will be held upon their approval.

  • Conferencing/Agreement

    Once pre-conferencing is completed with both the offender and the victim, a conference is scheduled and can be carried out between the two. It is in this conference that restorative justice outcomes can be discussed (community service or restitution), a mediation session can be held or the circle process utilized. An agreement should be made between the offender and the victim at this time concerning the action that will be taken holding the offender accountable for their offense. A contract and timeline concerning the details of the action should be drawn for accountability and a date should be set for the offender and the victim to meet to discuss any progress or lack of progress that has occurred.

  • Post Conferencing

    Upon completion of the restorative justice action, both the offender and the victim will meet to discuss the outcome and progress that has been made. During this meeting the facilitator and victim should hold the offender accountable for satisfying the action agreed upon during the conference in which the offender and victim agreed on the desired action to be used.

Notes: At anytime if the offender is unwilling to accept responsibility or does not want to continue with the process, the case will revert to the traditional campus conduct system.

What situations are handled restoratively?

  • Theft, damage, use or possession of university or another person's property.
  • Community disturbances/disruptions.
  • Abusive conduct that threatens or endangers the physical or psychological health, safety or welfare of others.

    (Adapted from Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, Colorado State University, 2011)

Benefits for those who utilize restorative justice

Benefits for offender

  • Share story to explain why you created the harm
  • Apologize to person(s) harmed and others involved
  • Decide with the victim how to repair harm
  • Treated with dignity, not shamed or disrespected

Benefits to victim

  • Have questions answered about how and why harm occurred
  • Chance to express feelings to offender. Increased input over how the harm is repaired
  • Opportunity to express feelings in a safe environment with minimal chance of revictimization

Benefits for community  

  • Help with reintegration of victim and offender
  • Strengthens community
    (Adapted from Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, Colorado State University, 2011)


How does a situation reach the Restorative Justice Response System

  • Harm is caused
  • Offender is identified
  • Offender meets with conduct officer
  • Conduct officer refers case to Restorative Justice Coordinator. Determines if situation can be handled restoratively
  • Coordinator gives case to facilitator
  • Facilitator pre-conferences, and introduces restorative justice process to offender. Affirms whether situation can be handled restoratively
  • Facilitator introduces process to victim during separate pre-conferencing meeting. Affirms again whether situation can be handled restoratively. Facilitator and Restorative Justice Coordinator determine restorative action to be used
  • Restorative Justice Conference held (restorative justice approaches discussed (community service, restitution), mediation is carried out, or circle process utilized. An agreement is settled on by offender and victim based on method used
    Adapted from Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, Colorado State University, 2011