Recently we have seen incidents of horrific, tragic and heart breaking violence – a terrorist act killing 49, police violence killing two and a revenge ambush killing five officers. These acts were driven largely by fear of the “other” – those who are different and rooted in racial, ethnic, gender and class bias, an enmity fostered by historical patterns of social injustice and neglect. Achieving safety, justice and peace requires addressing individual and societal harms in meaningful ways to repair the fabric of society.
NACRJ is dedicated to the idea that “relational justice” (i.e., community and restorative justice) may represent the “needle and thread” needed to repair a damaged society. However, this requires redefinition of “justice” – what it means, how it is attained and what it requires. A safe, just and equitable society is much more likely when relational justice becomes the option of first choice; and traditional justice is held in reserve as the option of last resort when responding to crime, incivilities and historical harms (interpersonal or institutional). Our means to attain this vision is an effective membership association that supports practitioners, facilitates networking, disseminates information, advocates for supportive policies and promotes education, training and research.