new green leaves

If your child throws a ball and breaks your neighbor’s window, what do you do? Invariably, adults will say: I would take the child with me to the neighbor to apologize, to listen to what the neighbor has to say, and to offer to make amends. This, of course, is what the neighbor would want too. If, on the other hand, the neighbor found out that the child was merely punished and no communication efforts were made, he or she would rightly feel that justice was not done, precisely because the victim was ignored. Restorative justice focuses on the harm done more than on the law broken. Attention to the harm draws greater attention to victims and thus to the repairing of harms.

A simple question was put to the two young men who burned down the church: “Why did you do this to us?”