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Restorative Justice is a way of making peace and acknowledging what someone has done and what they can do to prevent it from happening again. Instead of jail time or in a student’s case, suspension or expulsion, the person who committed a crime will sit in a circle with people who are trying to help. After hearing the thoughts and feelings from others, that person has a lot of emotion and usually realizes that she can trust the people sitting around them and they then know it’s time to get their act together. Other times, people only agree or try Restorative Justice just as a way of avoiding jail. Inside the circle, they could lie the whole time and act like they want to do better, then once they’re ‘free’ go straight back to their old habits. Restorative Justice has many outcomes, some positive and some negative.  re·stor·a·tive jus·ticeNounrestorative justice : a system of criminal justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large. In 1974 (first time that it was brought to America), two offenders charged with vandalism met with their victims. It was a way to establish their restoration and make peace with what had happened. Since then, similar programs (throughout Canada and internationally) have taken place. Restorative Justice roots from Aboriginal methods of dispute resolvement that does not only depend on the offender, and usually the victim, but the community as well. The traditional Aboriginal approaches were sitting in circles. Which in other articles, include the group sitting in a circle, usually in a desk or chairs. Previous Restorative Justice articles, the offenders are kids and the initial problem was a physical fight or other harsh actions. Other articles are about crimes taken place by adults, but the Restorative Justice circles are almost completely the same. Restorative Justice is important because it gives people second chances and instead of punishment, it’s a way of sorting things out and giving back to the community. Community work and other measures could be the only “punishment” someone receives from Restorative Justice.  (Arjaa.com)  Restorative Justice can be used to help prisoners. It helps them learn new emotional skills and gives the prisoners opportunities to talk about why they committed a crime. Many argue that Restorative Justice should not be put into the prisonjudicial system especially depending on the more serious crimes. Others worry about the cost and if it will really work. For many, this is a life-changing program and not only does it force someone to stare a victim straight in the face but they have to talk about what they did and hear about the impact it had on someone else. A boy went to a Restorative Justice circle to talk with the man who killed his father. After telling the man about going to his father’s funeral, the inmate now knows that he affected much more than just himself. Restorative Justice is also about confronting yourself and taking responsibility for your actions. After you do that, you can heal and focus on moving on. (Berkeley.edu)Harm circles or circle justice is usually what it is called in the school system. Restorative Justice in school systems is not just a way to get out of suspensions, expulsions or detentions. It’s a way to accept what you did and learn from it so it does not happen again. Some teachers do not like the idea of Restorative Justice because they think that it is uncomfortable to talk about feelings with a student. Students also might take advantage of this alternative and lie throughout the whole circle until it’s over and they’re left with no consequence. Other students go into the circle thinking that they are just going to lie and get it over with, then when they see what or who they have affected, they get into it and want to make it better. In much larger schools where there are numerous fights a day, circle justice shows a decrease of fights and hurtful words or gestures. Or before anything happens at all, they just say that they want to talk it out and use their words before something bad could happen. A downfall to this is that some schools just immediately start using Restorative Justice and no one really knows how to make it work and then the kids start acting insane because they think that there will be no consequence. (NPR.org)  Nothing can be perfect, here’s how Restorative Justice is not. The discipline issues after attempted RJ is crazy. It is like kids lose all their respect for peers and teachers and do whatever they want. It is assumed that whatever the offender did will just be talked about and then that’s it, so people don’t support it. Cost is also a big downfall to RJ. Being unprepared for Restorative Justice can also cause problems. There has to be boundaries and rules for Restorative Justice How can we make Restorative Justice work for everyone? How can we make people believe that it works and is effective for not only the offender but the victim and the community? 

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