Restorative Justice Laws
The Restorative Justice Legislative Directory was first created in 2014 by Assistant Professor Shannon Sliva, in partnership with Carolyn Lambert, J.D., of the Georgia State University College of Law. The aim of the directory is to catalogue and categorize the ways in which states have codified the use of restorative justice practices. Our vision was – and is – threefold:
- Practitioners in the states can turn to the directory to identify statutes that buttress or protect their work in communities.
- Policymakers and advocates can turn to the directory to compare and select language that will support their local aims.
- Researchers can turn to the directory to build the knowledge base about the adoption, implementation, and impact of restorative policies. Toward this end, researchers may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for raw data in Excel.
Evaluating Levels of Support
Statutory Support for Restorative Justice in the United States
*Source: Shannon Sliva, University of Denver, 2019
The directory catalogues U.S. state statutes that specifically support the use of restorative justice by name. This is important to note, as some state codes support restorative aims without naming restorative justice or any specific restorative justice practices, like victim-offender dialogue or community conferencing. The directory primarily catalogues state codes, but sometimes includes strong administrative regulations. Further, the directory categorizes statutes by application, population, practice type, and level of support. Related to the latter, statutes are coded as either ideological, structured permissive, or a structured requirement. These codes are applied based on the legal strength of each statute: Ideological statutes define restorative justice, generally encourage its use in an unstructured manner, or list restorative justice as one of many options in a given context. Structured permissive statutes provide additional structure – such as clarity about the context, funding structures, or administration of the policy – but do not require the use of restorative justice in a given context. Structured requirements are statutes which legally mandate the application of restorative justice in a given context, such as requiring the establishment of a program or requiring victim notification.
We view the directory as a collaborative compendium, and we welcome information about new, revised, or repealed statutes from practitioners, policy experts, and research partners. In addition, we’d like to feature work that illuminates the field of restorative justice policymaking. Please send any corrections or submissions to email@example.com.