Restorative Justice

What is it?

“Restorative justice is fundamentally different from retributive justice. It is justice that puts energy into the future, not into what is past. It focuses on what needs to be healed, what needs to be repaid, what needs to be learned in the wake of crime. It looks at what needs to be strengthened if such things are not to happen again.” 

- Susan Sharpe, Restorative Justice: A Vision for Healing and Change, 1998

A Different Way

Restorative Justice offers a hopeful vision of justice for victims' families and compassion for the families of executed and death-sentenced individuals. When a crime occurs our current current retributive system asks three questions: 1) What laws have been broken? 2) Who did it? and 3) What do they deserve? Restorative justice turns those questions around to be about the community, asking: 1) Who has been hurt? 2) What do they need? 3) Who has the obligation and responsibility to address this harm and meet these needs? and 4) What can we as a community do to make sure this doesn't happen again?

Restorative Justice in the Capital Context

A central principle of the CRJP is that a murder is not simply a crime against the state, but rather, is fundamentally a crime against a family and a community of people. As a corollary, executions perpetuate trauma and produce new victims of violence. The staff and volunteers of the CRJP realize the delicate nature of the grief and trauma one suffers when a loved one is taken violently. We are committed to serving all who mourn, and we are sensitive to the different beliefs we may encounter. We seek to address the unique needs of each individual victimized by homicide while looking for ways to combat the systemic problem of violence.