It’s no secret that the criminal justice system is no longer effective in addressing the needs of offenders, victims, and the communities at large. Consequently, the adversarial process involved ends up accentuating hatred, anger, and disunity when it should actually be working to bring about peace and healing.
Restorative justices comes as an alternative solution to handling criminals with the intention of creating change in offenders that has them not re-offend and therefore reduce the recidivism rate. Not only this, at a time when the number of people incarcerated are on the extreme high, policy makers, nonprofits, think tanks, and the criminal justice department are beginning to look into alternative ways of handling criminals in an effort to reduce prison population and reduce tax payer burden associated with incarceration. This is one reason why books on restorative justice are becoming more and more popular.
Restorative justice, which deviates from punitive justice (where there is no focus on rehabilitating criminals), ranks high among the possible solutions considered.
The books listed on this website have been chosen because they are the best books on restorative justice that can give readers the best insights into restorative processes that bring healing to victims and stress offender accountability in repairing the harm caused by crime (as much as possible).
Below is a list of books on restorative justice that are also well worth your consideration:
2. The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr
Howard Zehr is one of the most revered figure in the world of Restorative Justice. Some of his books about restorative justice have played a major role in fleshing up the idea around Restorative Justice.
In this book, Howard proposes a series of workable principles and practices on how to make Restorative Justice realizable. He also takes ample time to expound on how the idea isn’t some soft-on-crime or feel-good philosophy but a concrete effort to bring healing to the perpetrator, victim, and the community affected by an act of crime.
3. The Little Book of Restorative Discipline in Schools by Judy H. Mullet and Lorraine Stutzman Amastuz
This book is a great read that you may want to purchase even more copies of...in order to pass them along to people you know. Centered on the idea of creating caring climates, goaded by higher empathy levels and the ability to factor in all parties involved before making any decision or judging anyone, this is one of those restorative justice books that tries to blur the line between taking responsibility and caring.
4. Teaching Peace by Beverly Title
Teaching Peace, as you could have guessed, follows the story of a community that fully embraces Restorative justice. The community broke down their kind of restorative Justice into simpler, easy-understand, digestible chunks referred to as the 5Rs -- Relationship, Responsibility, Respect, Repair and Reintegration.
Beverly Title expounds on these 5 concepts by combining them with stories that elaborately illustrate how they work in real life.
5. Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr
This is the book that first introduced the US to the whole concept of Restorative Justice. First publish in 1990, the book champions for individual needs of both the victim and the offender, while putting a strong case against the criminal justice system that the world embraces (one reason this read fits well in the category of restorative justice in prisons books.
Zehr brings together logic, religious, and academic arguments, while distinguishing restorative justice from punitive justice that does value rehabilitation.
6. Better than Carrots or Sticks by Dominique Smith
A good classroom management system is one that encourages good behavior while discouraging bad one. It’s one that ensures both punishments and rewards are equally doled out.
Backing this up are a number of studies that clearly show how empowering students to correct bad behavior among themselves has a higher possibility of yielding positive results that can prove to be longer lasting and far reaching.
7. The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice by Michael L. Hadley
Hadley tries to explore spiritual traditions in detail, as well as the practice surrounding Restorative and Criminal justice in general. He also takes a detour by focusing on some of the collaborations existing between scholars and professionals with regards to multi-faith and its relation to criminal law both in theory and practice.
One of the key factors a book must have in order to further the healing process of crime victims and offenders is to contain a message that touches the reader in a way that healing happens while the book is being read. This happens for many readers in Doing Time With God.
The thing about the book that makes this possible is that it contains stories about healing that touches readers hearts. Even though the stories are about the healing process for victims of crime and prisoners, the process applies to all of us as human beings.
The stories in Doing Time With God teach us by example. Some of the stories will touch you in your place of need if you are a victim of violence; for others, you can imagine yourself in the situation or the scene and ask yourself questions that may be valuable in the context of your personal journey; questions such as: What is the purpose of this story? Does this story reveal insights that I can apply to my journey? Does the story stir something in me that requires further reflection?
One of the most unique things about Doing Time With God is how God's presence is made known in the last place most people would expect - in the midst of prison. This is important because many people do not experience God's presence with the pain they experience before and during the healing process. Since the healing process is mostly unpleasant, it is common for people to question where God is on their journey.
Doing Time With God shows how victims and inmates find healing, break free from inner prisons of anger and resentment, and experience God's freedom and fulfillment in the midst of their suffering. While reading the stories it becomes obvious why restorative justice programs in prisons are proven to reduce recidivism.
Doing Time With God is one of the best books on restorative justice because through the story-telling, you "see" crime victims and offenders healing and you "hear" victim satisfaction happening as offenders accept responsibility for their harmful choices and express remorse to victims.