RJ Values

Core values within RJ are respect, empathy, participation, empowerment, responsibility, safety, transformation, inclusion, and reintegration.

As appreciated earlier on, it is an arduous task to define Restorative Justice (RJ) due to the fact that so many different definitions exist. Thus, there are attempts to define RJ based on its common elements, the values building its core foundation. Some of the widely accepted core values within RJ are respect, empathy, participation, empowerment, responsibility, safety, transformation, inclusion, and reintegration (Stuart, Pranis and Wedge, 2005). Accordingly, RJ can be seen as a philosophy of life, since its advocates are called to “walk the talk” or, in other words, live up to their declared values and “be the change [they] wish to see in the world” (Mahatma Ghandi). Human rights values, too, are therefore fundamental to the philosophy and practice of RJ. Consequently, not only RJ’s theory but, in particular, all the processes RJ encompasses need to be based on these core values. The specific values that are to guide these processes are usually defined and shared by the stakeholders involved in any particular process. These values need to promote a “restorative” climate, where healing, restoration and restitution can become possible.
Values are also key to processes because they form the essential framework for the implementation and evaluation of these. Any theory, program, process or organization should be evaluated based on whether the restorative values have been respected and put into practice and, if so, to what extent. Relationships among any stakeholders should also be governed by these values, including relationships with the police, courts, victim services, and prisons, as well as other governmental and non-governmental agencies.