What Are Restorative Practices?

Restorative justice comes to us from indigenous people who understand the essential value of all life. In indigenous communities, no person is considered expendable; in fact, the very survival of the tribe depends on everyone’s contribution. Consequently, if human relationships become frayed, there needs to be a way to restore people back to right relationship. We thank the Maori of New Zealand for providing the basis of our restorative practices and showing us how to restore harmony within our communities.

 

Restorative justice generally refers to a process where the people most directly involved in wrongdoing or conflict come together in a guided circle-talking process to determine what harm has been done and what needs to be done to repair that harm to the greatest extent possible.

 

Restorative practice is an umbrella term that is used to refer to a wide range of processes that bring people together to resolve matters of wrongdoing or conflict, for community building or healing. All restorative process are guided by principles and values and always have a focus on restoring healthy relationships. The principles and values that guide the work of the ReSolutionaries are the 5 Rs: Relationship, Respect, Responsibility, Repair, and Reintegration.

How are Restorative Practices Being Applied?

Restorative practice has become a world-wide movement. When addressing crime, it is called Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice is the best-known term and most widely practiced restorative process in use. However, the restorative way is also applied in child welfare situations, referred to as Family Group Decision-Making. In schools, it may be called Restorative Discipline. Indeed, Restorative Practices take numerous forms and are applied in myriad forums.  At the heart are the guiding principles of repairing harm and restoring relationships.

Why Use a Restorative Process?

ACROSS THE BOARD SYSTEMS BASED ON HIERARCHY ARE FAILING as evidenced by:

  • 70% criminal recidivism rates where prisons are like crime colleges, people come out worse than when they went in, plus it costs taxpayers more to incarcerate than to provide a Harvard education.
  • The ‘school to prison pipeline’ with minority students being suspended and expelled at alarmingly disproportionate rates.
  • Employees reporting dissatisfaction as high as 70% in their workplaces.
  • Kids choosing to live on the street rather than live at home.
  • Sky-high school drop-out rates.
  • Workplace and school shootings.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THE RESOLUTIONARIES 5RS FRAMEWORK IS AN EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO HIERARCHY

While restorative practices generally result in participants feeling good, they are far more than feel-good processes. Outcome measures indicate a strong track record of success, in terms of repairing harm and reducing recurrences of the same behavior.  This is true in all applications of restorative processes and practices, from criminal justice to schools to families to workplaces, and everywhere in between.

At ReSolutionaries Inc. we provide tools that are focused on relationships rather than control. Enduring solutions for tough, age-old problems are found in circles. You’ll see in our logo the “solution” is depicted in the circle. In circles there is no hierarchy, and equity is possible.

The ReSolutionaries 5Rs Framework that we use provides a structure for preventing, resolving, and even transforming conflict. This framework replaces the old guard of power and control with a focus on relationships and restoration.

With restorative processes and the ReSolutionaries 5Rs Framework we show people and organizations how to solve problems at their roots, build strong relationships, enhance empathy, make equity possible, and transform culture.

We have applied this framework in the criminal justice system for 20 years.  We are currently using the ReSolutionaries 5Rs Framework to transform school culture and tackle the ‘school to prison pipeline’, and in organizations to foster dynamic, high-functioning, and stimulating work environments.