TO-FOR-WITH and towards Agency

The principles of restorative justice apply to decisions and encounters beyond the murky and broad boundaries of crime and wrongdoing. In fact, the principles of engagement, accountability, and restoration (Zehr, 2009) are beneficial to consider in all of our interactions. They are relevant to individuals, groups, and nation-states.

Over time, I have come to realize the importance of engagement largely due to the challenges associated with facilitating it, but also due to its relationship to power. People are empowered when they are engaged; they are disempowered when they are not. Disempowerment is inherently un-just. Thus, restorative justice without engagement is not restorative justice at all.

Sometime in 2009, I adapted McCold and Wachtel’s Social Discipline Window (2003)—a tool used by many in the field to describe restorative justice and restorative practices—in a way that more fully captures restorative justice, in that it incorporates and focuses on involvement and engagement—a foundational principle of its theory and practice.

Here is the graphic I came up with:

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