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The Little Book of Restorative Justice (The Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding) Paperback – January 1, 2002


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The Little Book of Restorative Justice  (The Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding) + The Little Book of Circle Processes : A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking (The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series) (Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding) + The Little Book of Conflict Transformation: Clear articulation of the guiding principles by a pioneer in the field (The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 74 pages
  • Publisher: Good Books; Original edition (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561483761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561483761
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

EXCERPT 1. An Overview

How should we as a society respond to wrongdoing? When a crime occurs or an injustice is done, what needs to happen? What does justice require?

For North Americans, the urgency of these questions has been intensified by the traumatic events of September 11, 2001. The debate is an old one, though, and is truly international in scope.

Whether we are concerned with crime or other offenses, the Western legal system has profoundly shaped our thinking about these issues—not only in the Western world, but in much of the rest of the world as well.

The Western legal, or criminal justice, system’s approach to justice has some important strengths. Yet there is also a growing acknowledgment of this system’s limits and failures. Victims, offenders, and community members often feel that justice does not adequately meet their needs. Justice professionals—judges, lawyers, prosecutors, probation and parole officers, prison staff—frequently express a sense of frustration as well. Many feel that the process of justice deepens societal wounds and conflicts rather than contributing to healing or peace.

Restorative justice is an attempt to address some of these needs and limitations. Since the 1970s, a variety of programs and approaches have emerged in thousands of communities and many countries throughout the world. Often these are offered as choices within or alongside the existing legal system. Starting in 1989, however, New Zealand has made restorative justice the hub of its entire juvenile justice system.

In many places today, restorative justice is considered a sign of hope and the direction of the future. Whether it will live up to this promise remains to be seen.

Restorative justice began as an effort to deal with burglary and other property crimes that are usually viewed (often incorrectly) as relatively minor offenses. Today, however, restorative approaches are available in some communities for the most severe forms of criminal violence: death from drunken driving, assault, rape, even murder. Building upon the experience of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, efforts are also being made to apply a restorative justice framework to situations of mass violence.

These approaches and practices are also spreading beyond the criminal justice system to schools, to the workplace, and to religious institutions. Some advocate the use of restorative approaches such as "circles" (a particular practice that emerged from First Nation communities in Canada) as a way to work through, resolve, and transform conflicts in general. Others pursue circles or "conferences" (an effort with roots both in New Zealand and Australia, and in facilitated victim-offender meetings) as a way to build and heal communities. Kay Pranis, a prominent restorative justice advocate, calls circles a form of participatory democracy that moves beyond simple majority rule (see pages 50-51 for a fuller explanation of circles as understood in the restorative justice field).

In societies where Western legal systems have replaced and/or suppressed traditional justice and conflict-resolution processes, restorative justice is providing a framework to reexamine and sometimes reactivate these traditions.

Although the term "restorative justice" encompasses a variety of programs and practices, at its core it is a set of principles, a philosophy, an alternate set of guiding questions. Ultimately, restorative justice provides an alternative framework for thinking about wrongdoing. I will explore that framework in the pages that follow, and look at how it could be put to use. [continued] © Good Books, Intercourse, PA 17534

From the Inside Flap

"How should we as a society respond to wrongdoing? When a crime occurs or an injustice is done, what needs to happen? What does justice require? "Victims, offenders, and community members often feel that justice does not adequately meet their needs. Justice professionals frequently express frustration as well. "Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible."

— from The Little Book of Restorative Justice

Howard Zehr, known worldwide for his pioneering work in transforming our understandings of justice, here proposes workable Principles and Practices for making restorative justice both possible and useful.

Zehr is the author of the formative work, Changing Lenses, and of the photo-essay books Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims; and Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Howard Zehr's book is great!
fatima
What a relief to read about justice that might restore person and place, while accounting for wrongdoing.
Stephen Armstrong
I found the book to be very informative.
Carla M

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joy Smith on May 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This small book holds a great amount of wisdom. Justice as it is currently practiced in american courts is more vengengance than concern for the individuals involved and their needs. This Book gives ways that we can make justice a process that is caring and effective in helping all involved feel heard, in provide restitution for victims and helps offenders become valued members of society again.
I highly recommend this book to anyone dissatisfied with our current justice system.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Armstrong on August 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very short read, clearly stated, and very well worth the hour.

I love these "Little Books." This one brings to mind the Mennonite influences in America, these very same people whom W.E.B. DuBois celebrates in his essay "Atalanta."

What a relief to read about justice that might restore person and place, while accounting for wrongdoing. It is a breath of fresh air to think of something other than fear-based Nixonian "law and order," which is the idea that retribution brings justice. (It never does. Think of Iraq.)

One wonders whether these ideas are discussed in Criminology programs in universities across our country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave Hart on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where to start? As I was reading this book on an Amtrak commuter train, a rider a few rows ahead turned in is seat to the person in the row behind to point out that someone accused and convicted of robbery "got what he deserved". Old testament vengeance appeals to most, if not all of us, on a deep emotional level. I would hope human beings want to rise above our animal origins and more primitive instincts to create a civil society where we focus on making things right as much as possible. That is much more difficult, much more challenging and far more mature and highly evolved than "getting even". Most people would answer "Yes, but..." This book, if read carefully and reflectively makes the best case I have seen for explaining how that is really the only rational way to approach crimes from the most petty through the most horrendous. This also provides the history to show that this approach is not new, has been around for centuries, but has been sidelined. Everyone is exposed the the workings of the "criminal justice" system on a daily basis through news, etc. This book forces a re-evaluation of all of it in a very accessible and compact format. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you want to have a more complete understanding of what is this thing called justice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By peacewoman on January 6, 2013
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I wish this book would just rain down on all the earth. It's that important. It speaks of necessary changes for human evolution.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By greg kraft on December 10, 2012
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This book explained how personal justice could happen and how it works. Victims, offenders and the community they live in could all prosper with a restorative justice approach to crime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christie Billups, D.Min. on November 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking for an introduction to Restorative Justice, this should be your first stop. Howard Zehr is the so-called "grandfather" of restorative justice and has been helping to frame and promote the practices of restorative justice for decades. It's clear and concise and will no doubt invite curious people into more in depth exploration of this essential transformative practice for our times, our communities and our criminal justice system.
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