What is Restorative Practices

According to the International Institute of Restorative Practices, restorative practices is a social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision making [emphasis added]. The use of restorative practices helps to:

  • reduce crime, violence and bullying
  • improve human behavior
  • restore relationships
  • repair harm
  • strengthen civil society
  • provide effective leadership

Restorative Practices are about repairing harm, restoring and reintegrating – creating opportunities for repairing and healing people (victims/perpetrators); restoring people, and reintegrating them into productive participatory citizens (“restored citizens”).

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines Recovery from Addiction as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”

From that vantage point, there are many similarities between the goal of Restorative Practices and the goal of Addiction Recovery: change; personal responsibility; positives choices leading to sustained wellness; healing; restoration to self, others, and community; reaching full potential for fuller participation in life.

Recovery and Restorative Practices are tools, that when combined and integrated, can lead to personal, social, economic, and community transformation. When used as tools connecting the business community and work world with people in recovery and past justice system involvement, new life can be found, communities can be rebuilt, economies strengthened and sustained and the overall wellness and health – of individuals, businesses and communities – can be achieved.

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