Restorative justice is an approach to offending behavior that focuses on repairing harm and restoring relationships, rather than just punishing the perpetrator. Schools are increasingly adopting restorative justice to address concerns about overuse of exclusionary punishment of students.

Researchers from the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center are providing a more comprehensive picture of restorative justice in elementary and secondary schools nationwide. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is funding this work.

The Center is producing multiple descriptive and complementary pieces of research:

  • A comprehensive literature review of restorative justice in the schools to identify conceptual models, document issues, and any empirical research that has been reported, and provide clues to identifying persons and schools involved in current implementation. The review is focused on key issues in implementation of restorative justice, describing the main conceptual and program models, and synthesizing empirical results.
  • An environmental scan of schools and districts to identify restorative justice approaches currently in the field. The research team is seeking to identify the variety of restorative justice programs in schools. Specifically, the team is conducting interviews with leading experts and key informants, and conducting an online survey of program staff in the field to gather quantitative data to complement findings from the interviews.

Download the reports from this project:

  1. What Further Research is Needed on Restorative Justice in Schools?
  2. Restorative Justice in U.S. Schools: Summary Findings from Interviews with Experts
  3. Restorative Justice in U.S. Schools: Practitioners’ Perspectives
  4. Restorative Justice in U.S. Schools – An Updated Research Review

The results of these research tasks will inform future research and practice regarding restorative justice in schools in the United States.