A faithful compass: rethinking the term restorative justice to find clarity

Vaandering, Dorothy (2011) A faithful compass: rethinking the term restorative justice to find clarity. Contemporary Justice Review, 14 (3). pp. 307-328. ISSN 1477-2248

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In the field of restorative justice (rj) there is regular debate regarding the terms restorative and justice. In spite of efforts to come to a common vision, this ongoing discussion illustrates how theoretical and practical disagreements have resulted in rj being characterized as ambiguous and inconsistent within the judicial context and beyond (Gavrielides, 2008; Sullivan & Tifft, 2005; Johnstone & Van Ness, 2007). Arising out of research conducted in an education context (Vaandering, 2009), this paper identifies the impact of this ambiguity on educators. More importantly, however, it examines the term justice and discovers that an overemphasis on justice as fairness and individual rights has pulled the field off-course. The paper identifies that what is needed is a broader understanding of justice than that given in the judicial context and makes the case for justice as honouring the inherent worth of all and enacted through relationship. If understood as such, I argue that the terms restorative and justice must remain paired and in place in order to serve as a muchneeded compass needle that guides proponents of rj in the field to their desired destinations.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12115
Item ID: 12115
Keywords: restorative justice, restorative practice, restorative justice theory, transformative justice, education, narrative inquiry
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: September 2011
Date Type: Publication
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