The Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice partners with communities across the nation to address harm through dialogue among those most impacted. We work to shift the paradigm from seeing crime as a violation of the law to understanding crime as harm that requires individual, interpersonal, community, and system-wide support for accountability and healing. Our approach is unique in its explicit goal of engaging communities to achieve healthy outcomes for youth accused of crime, while meeting the self-identified needs of people harmed and reducing recidivism, racial and ethnic disparities, and related social and fiscal costs.
Creating and writing this toolkit was truly a Restorative Justice Project team effort. Each of us has been shaped by our personal identities and professional backgrounds. Because of this, you will notice that the tone and style of writing changes from section to section, and even within sections. We decided to leave these stylistic variations as they are, because we are proud of our team effort on this toolkit and of the gifts that each of us brings to our work.
Our organization, Impact Justice, confronts mass incarceration, cruel and inhumane conditions, barriers to re-entry, and the failure to meet survivors’ needs. We understand that our struggle for justice takes place in a context of historic, systemic, and pervasive racism. We are committed to changing hearts and minds, behaviors, and structures. This mission requires a strong foundation in principle, and the following core values undergird the work of Impact Justice:
- Imagination. We cannot build a just world until we dream it and tap into our creative power.
- Common Humanity. Our work recognizes the value in every person and the reality that any system that dehumanizes some of us dehumanizes us all.
- Diversity and Equity. We are rooted in our cultural differences and seek diverse perspectives. We recognize that both historically and presently, certain communities are targeted and harmed by systemic oppression, discrimination, and prejudice. We work to ensure our strategies and actions promote diversity, equity, and justice, based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, language, national origin, immigration status, system involvement, socioeconomic status, and the multitude of intersections thereof.
- Liberation. We are part of greater movements to end individual, collective, and systemic oppression, so that all people are free to thrive.
- Compassion. We are committed to reducing and ultimately ending the trauma and pain that we see in the work we do.
- Passion for Change. To have impact, we are a relentless, determined, and unstoppable force.
- Integrity. We commit to bringing our core values to life in our work.