Restorative justice or "RJ" is a different way of looking at crime and conflict and is founded on ideas of justice that are much older than our Canadian Justice System. RJ looks at crime and conflict in a manner that acknowledges the deep and rippling impacts of crime and conflict. It provides a process of dialogue whereby the people directly impacted be crime of conflict are able to find restorative solutions with the person that caused them harm. My experience has been that people impacted by crime (often called victims in our Justice System) almost always have questions that they want answered by the person that harmed them. My Master's research examined this issue and found that the question was often "why" and that RJ allows people to ask this in a safe process. I've never found the formal justice system capable of answering this question.
RJ principals and processes are now being adopted in corporate settings as an effective tool for dealing with internal conflict and to build social connections between team members. RJ is also being utilized in schools to promote the development of students' emotional capacity and to enhance social connections between students and with their school community.