What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice is a philosophy and an approach that views crime and conflict as harm done to people and relationships. It is a non-adversarial, non-retributive approach to justice that emphasizes healing in victims, accountability of offenders, and the involvement of citizens in creating healthier, safer communities. The goal is to reach meaningful, satisfying, and fair outcomes through inclusion, open communication, and truth.
SUNY Morrisville aims to create a culture that supports and utilizes Restorative Justice processes to address and repair harm in the community, restore wellness, and promote communication, engagement, and cooperation. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities may refer incidents to this alternative resolution option to be resolved rather than through the traditional judicial process.
What does the process look like?
Once a case is referred for a Restorative Justice Circle, a Facilitator or two are selected to handle the case. Facilitators will be contacted for a pre-circle meeting to review the process, rules, and sign the informed consent to voluntarily participate in the RJ process. All parties must voluntarily agree to participate or the case is sent back to traditional judicial processes.
During the circle, the rules are reviewed. Participants will have questions posed to them by the facilitators and each participate without interruption is given an opportunity to talk respectfully about how the incident has impacted them and ways the harms may be addressed. The format of the circle is structured to allow each party to speak about the incident and the impacts, and prevent people from being spoken over.
When everyone is satisfied that they have been heard, an agreement is reached on how the harm can be repaired as much as possible, and all participants must agree to abide by the agreement.