Transformative Justice “Talking Points”/Key Principles

by No New Jim Crow Seattle Campaign (

  • Transformative Justice (TJ) is an alternative to jail, prison, and punishments. Its purpose is to repair damaged relationships, encourage healing in individuals and communities so that they can thrive.
  • TJ is victim-focused, offender-focused, repair-focused – as opposed to focused on laws broken, crimes committed, and punishments.
  • TJ is community-focused — as opposed to individual-focused: the power for solving problems resides in the community rather than in the state.
  • TJ asks who/why/what: who was harmed, why did the harm happen, what is necessary to repair the relationships damaged as a result of the harm, and who is responsible for the repair?
  • TJ is concrete. It has a structure and a process.
    • “Peace-Making Circles” or “Family Group Conferences”
    • Skilled Facilitators who are members of the communities involved
    • Designated places where the groups gather
    • Clear process for all people being heard and understood
  • TJ is already being practiced in large and small-scale ways in many places locally, nationally, and around the world, including:
    • New Zealand, Australia
    • Alaskan Indigenous People
    • Colorado
    • Florida (Dade County)
    • Baltimore
    • Navajo People
    • Clark County Juvenile Justice
    • Bothell (Youth Court)
    • Cleveland High School
    • Other Schools in King County (Kent SD? Auburn SD?)
    • City of Seattle East Precinct/Central District (pilot program currently underway)____________________________________________________________________________

A few other resources on transformative justice/restorative justice:

Howard Zehr, Changing Lenses, The Little Book of Restorative Justice, The Little Book of Family Group Conferences, New Zealand Style

Interview with Carolyn Boyes-Watson of Suffolk University, Boston:

Interesting “zines” – “Miklat, Miklat, a Restorative Justice Zine” and “Plan A” (Seattle, WISH)

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