“Community is made from conflict as much as from cooperation; the capacity to solve conflict is what gives social relations their sinew. Professionalizing justice ' steals the conflicts,' robbing the community of its ability to face trouble and restore peace. Communities lose their confidence, the capacity, and finally, their inclination to preserve their own order. They instead become consumers of police and court 'services' with the consequences that they largely cease to be communities.”

Nils Christie, 1977. Conflict is Property.

Restorative Justice

What makes it different?

Restorative justice focuses on accountability, responsibility, and working to reestablish the trust, the victim, offender, and the community. We work to shift the focus of justice from retribution to restoration so that...

  • The victim finds repair
  • The offender takes responsibility
  • The community is restored
Neighbors and conflict resolution.

Restorative Justice vs. Criminal Justice

In Restorative Justice In Traditional Criminal Justice
Victim’s needs and offender responsibility for repairing harm are the central focus The central focus is that
offenders get what they deserve
Crime is a violation of people and relationships Crime is a violation of the law and the state
Violations create obligations Violations create guilt
Justice involves victims, offenders, and community members in an effort to put things right Justice requires the state to determine blame (guilt) and impose pain (punishment)

Restorative justice seeks to manage and resolve conflict in a way that keeps communities together while moving forward. Through changing our perspectives and expectations on how we manage conflict, it is our hope to bring our community and its members closer, creating a better place for all to live and thrive.

For excellent tips on managing conflict, check out this list put together by our friends over at Burlington Community Justice Center. It contains tips on what to do, what not to do, and some insights on small steps you can take in resolving conflict.


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