Restorative Justice

Live date: 
Friday, August 21, 2020 - 10:15am

Restorative justice is an alternative approach to the resolution of crimes and conflicts. Rather than the traditionally retributive and punitive function of the criminal justice system, restorative justice seeks to provide healing and growth among the victim(s), accused, and the community at large. This approach emphasizes “repair, reconciliation, and the rebuilding of relationships,” as well as prevention and accountability for the wrongdoer. Restorative justice may be used in lieu of the traditional criminal justice system, or alongside it. The restorative justice processes as an alternative or supplement to the criminal justice system has grown rapidly in the U.S. and abroad and enjoys a measure of empirical data supporting its efficacy in terms of outcomes for those involved (which in turn promotes respect for the justice system). Public defenders who work to implement restorative justice practices can not only improve outcomes for clients, but work to create stronger community relations and, by extension, stronger communities. Public defenders have a unique connection to the most disadvantaged and disfranchised community members and are thus in a unique position to advocate for and effectuate restorative practices.

The Preamble to the Rules of Professional Responsibility recognizes that the lawyer is a public citizen with a special responsibility for the quality of justice. A lawyer is to seek to improve the law and advance the administration of justice, as well as to ensure equal access to justice. Rule 2.1 recognizes that a lawyer can, and sometimes must, refer to moral, economic, social, and political factors when advising clients. Restorative justice practices focus on these other-than-purely legal considerations as a rule and embodies the ideals for a lawyer stated in the Preamble. Further, Rule 6.4 expressly allows lawyers to participate in law reform activities that may affect client interests. Restorative justice is just such a project, and participants will be encouraged to utilize restorative practices as a matter of legal and community reform, in addition to any advocacy benefits the practice may entail.


Jon Powell, Director, Restorative Justice Clinic

Additional Information


For additional information about indigent defense education courses and resources, visit our Public Defense Education site.  

1.00 hours
CLE Value:
1 hrs
1 hrs

Faculty Coordinator

For questions regarding course details, please contact the program manager.

Faculty Coordinator

individual image for Monica Yelverton
Associate Director of Programs and Services, Public Defense Education
For questions regarding course content, please contact the faculty coordinator.

Faculty Coordinator

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Topics - Courts and Judicial Administration