Discussion of the histories, meanings, and assumptions of restorative justice have enriched the development of its theory, research, and practices. While some of this work has addressed the role of communication, the treatment of communication within restorative justice remains rather under-developed. Communication plays a central role in processes of restoration and justice and a constitutive role in making restorative justice what it is. In Creating Restorative Justice: A Communication Perspective of Justice, Restoration, and Community, Gregory D. Paul and Ian M. Borton argue that by centering communication in restorative justice as it occurs in various contexts (from families, to schools, to communities), we can simultaneously deepen our understanding, enrich our practice, and amplify our study of restoration and justice. From a communication perspective, restorative contexts both use and are created by the communication present. Any outcomes from restorative processes are thus the product of the communication both within and between restorative practices’ participants. As the world addresses the challenges presented by injustice, inequality, and insecurity, it is incumbent we expand our understanding of restorative processes to account for the vital role of communication.
Gregory D. Paul is professor and head of the department of communication studies at Kansas State University.
Ian M. Borton is professor of communication at Aquinas College.
Chapter 1: A Communication Perspective of Restorative Justice
Chapter 2: The Return of RJ
Chapter 3: The Restorative Family
Chapter 4: RJ in American Schools
Chapter 5: Constituting Community through Restorative Justice
Chapter 6: Digital RJ
Chapter 7: Studying Restorative Justice
About the Authors
"At a time when our country is poignantly feeling the limitations of traditional approaches to justice, Creating Restorative Justice is a much-needed volume. Restorative justice, which emphasizes the harm that is inflicted on all parties when criminal or social violations occur, focuses on relationships that can transform perpetrators, victims, and society as a whole. The book centers communication to illuminate not only how restorative justice happens, but how social conversations about justice create its very existence. It is my fervent hope that this book is widely read and inspires continued understanding, practice, and research of restorative justice."
"The 2020 explosion of digital restorative justice makes this book timely in taking a communication approach to restorative justice. It is insightful not only on the possibilities and limits of digital restorative justice, but on the communication fundamentals of the framework across the board. The book eloquently makes the case that a communication approach requires restorative research that emphasises narrative and ritual. It shows that communicative exchange is key to understanding and tempering power in justice systems. A rich and refreshing engagement with justice that is restorative."