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“Restorative Justice” is a term most of us interested in remedying flaws in the criminal
justice system have heard at some point. As NYADP’s mission has expanded
and brought our members into contact with prison families, victims, law enforcement,
and mental health advocates, we have also been drawn to a restorative justice approach.
NYADP's Executive Director David Kaczynski chairs the Restorative Justice Commission
of the Albany Catholic Diocese, and Victim/Survivor Advocate Marie Verzulli
is an active member of the Commission. But what, exactly, is Restorative Justice?
And how does it fit in with NYADP’s work?
NYADP’s friends at Partners in Restorative Initiatives in Rochester provide us
with a splendid explanation:
Restorative Justice is an approach rather
than a program. This orientation views
wrongdoing as a violation of interpersonal
and communal relationships. Such acts
leave wounds on the person harmed, the
person who caused the harm, and the community
of which they are a part...a restorative
justice process brings together all persons
affected to resolve a conflict, usually
with the help of a trained, impartial facilitator.
Healing these wounds requires that
this process establish a dialogue with those
affected, identify how people have been
wounded, ask people to assume full accountability
and responsibility for their
actions and invites people to reassert control
over their lives and relationships.
Restorative Justice thus restores dignity to
victims, holds offenders accountable, and
NYADP’s objective, to unite those most affected by violence in finding common
ground solutions that benefit all involved,is thus closely aligned with the Restorative
Justice model. We look forward to working with our allies in this healing approach