C4RJ carries out all of our commitments -- both within our organization and in our work in communities -- with C.A.R.E.
Collaboration – We collaborate in all we do both internally between the Board, Executive Director, staff, and volunteers and externally through our circle process and in our partnerships with various stakeholders in the Justice System. We work to bring people together to promote restorative justice whenever possible.
Accountability – We work to promote accountability at all levels within the organization and in executing restorative justice practices. When harm is done, we are responsible to ensure that victims are served in a safe and caring way and responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.
Respect – We treat all members of our organization with respect. Through our circle process we promote respectful exchanges and preserve the dignity and humanity of all who are involved
Effectiveness – We are committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure an effective, quality driven process that gives victims a voice, reduces recidivism, holds responsible parties accountable, and increases feelings of public safety in our communities. Our commitment to quality outcomes will direct our decision making process.
Restorative Justice is About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
The concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded within restorative practices, which proceed from the belief that everyone holds a piece of the truth. C4RJ embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as the way to fully realize our values.
Diversity. The quality of the circle is improved by hearing different perspectives flowing from the lived experiences of each participant. In our model, this starts with the victim, offender, police, and community perspectives. So often resolution comes only after each stakeholder shares how the crime affected them.
Equity. Our common humanity is the starting point of restorative practice. People have distinct roles in a circle, none more important than others. The circle process fosters respect for the dignity of all. In a circle, we take turns, listen deeply, and do not interrupt, cultivating trust and promoting fairness.
Inclusion. By their nature, restorative justice circles include parties affected and their views. We work hard to overcome barriers, for example by including interpreters when necessary. The circle as a whole crafts the agreement that will resolve the case, however many rounds of discussion are needed to come to consensus.
C4RJ’s Commitment to Social and Racial Justice
At Communities for Restorative Justice, we bring people into courageous conversations that center the voices of those who have been affected by harm and those who have caused harm. When those voices have historically been marginalized, it is even more important that they be elevated and heard.
Our restorative practice seeks to repair the harms that occur within communities in ways that respect the dignity and humanity of all participants. We acknowledge with gratitude and respect the Indigenous roots of the principles of this restorative practice, which affirm the common humanity of all. Racism is a denial of this humanity, and is antithetical to our organizational values.
Communities for Restorative Justice condemns police brutality and systemic racism. We stand firmly against violence and the threat of violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We denounce police violence and call for an end to the deeply-entrenched racial disparities within our judicial system. We are committed to disrupting patterns of mass incarceration and to supporting systemic change in our criminal legal system by promoting restorative practices.
Racism, and particularly anti-Black racism, is systemic and pervasive. Dismantling systemic racism is all our responsibility, and much more is required of those individuals and organizations that have benefited from white privilege. We recognize that as an organization with primarily white leadership and volunteer base, we have a long way to go to live up to our values.
Communities for Restorative Justice affirms our commitment to being anti-racist at all levels of our organization. We acknowledge our responsibility to ensure that the lived experience of our volunteers, staff, and Board of Directors reflects the diverse communities we serve.
We commit to prioritizing and evaluating our work to:
- train circle keepers to identify power imbalances and to guide our circles to uplift marginalized perspectives.
- ensure that our circles are welcoming and supportive of people of all racial, socio-economic, and ethnic backgrounds
- analyze and monitor any racial disparities in our programs.
- remove financial, language and other barriers to our services.
- strengthen partnerships in communities of color, and develop leadership teams that come from the communities they serve.
- recruit more people with lived experience of the criminal legal system, including returning citizens, into leadership roles.
- provide resources to support our volunteers and staff to work towards racial justice.
As C4RJ continues our mission to provide transformative approaches to conflict, we must take these meaningful steps to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. We can do better, and we will do better as we live out our mission, vision, and values.