Who created restorative justice?

Restorative justice is not created by any single person, but rather it is a concept that has evolved over time through the efforts of many individuals and groups.

The roots of restorative justice can be traced back to indigenous justice systems, such as the Maori justice system in New Zealand and the Navajo justice system in the United States. These systems emphasize community involvement in the resolution of conflicts and focus on healing and restoration rather than punishment.

In the 1970s, the modern restorative justice movement emerged in North America and Europe as a response to the perceived failures of the traditional criminal justice system. This movement was influenced by the ideas of criminologists, legal scholars, and community activists who sought to develop alternative approaches to justice that would be more victim-centered, rehabilitative, and community-oriented.

Some of the key figures in the development of restorative justice include Howard Zehr, who is often called the “father of restorative justice,” Kay Pranis, Mark Umbreit, and John Braithwaite. However, it is important to note that restorative justice is a collective and ongoing effort, with many practitioners, scholars, and advocates contributing to its evolution and implementation.

There are many examples of ancient restorative justice practices that have been documented throughout history, including:

The Code of Hammurabi: This Babylonian legal code, which dates back to 1754 BCE, included provisions for restitution and compensation for victims of crimes, as well as fines and punishments for offenders.

The Athenian legal system: In ancient Athens, disputes were often resolved through mediation and arbitration by a panel of citizens, rather than through punitive measures. This system was designed to encourage dialogue and reconciliation between the parties involved.

The Maori justice system: The Maori people of New Zealand have a long history of using restorative justice practices, including the use of a “circle” process in which offenders and victims come together with their families and communities to discuss the harm that has been done and to work towards healing and reconciliation.

The Navajo justice system: The Navajo people of the southwestern United States have a similar tradition of restorative justice, known as “peacemaking,” which emphasizes community involvement and healing rather than punishment.

These ancient examples demonstrate that restorative justice is not a new idea, but rather a longstanding and universal approach to justice that has been practiced in many different cultures and societies throughout history.

Key Articles:

The Origins of Restorative Justice
The History of Restorative Justice
The Use of Restorative Justice around the World
The use of Restorative Practices in Ancient Cultures
Pioneers and turning points in the history of restorative justice