The College’s Bias Response Team (BRT) employs a restorative justice approach - according to the Le Moyne student handbook:
Restorative Justice is an approach to determining responsibility for an act and deciding upon consequences that is focused on the harmed individual. The purpose of restorative justice is to:
- Ameliorate the harm caused, including emotional, physical, financial, and relational harm,
- Rebuild trust in our community and in each other,
- Restore both the harmed individual(s) and the responsible individual(s) to community, whenever possible.
Because restorative justice focuses on the people who were harmed and includes them throughout the process, people who have been hurt by an incident are able to be part of how the situation is resolved. Their voices are heard. At the same time, the people who created the harm are heard, as well. The agreement that all enter into helps to build community, as no one imposes a result on others. All take part in healing the fracture in our community.
Steps in the Restorative Justice Process
Step One: Pre-conference meetings
Members of the BRT, who are trained in restorative justice, meet separately with those who were harmed and those who created the harm. In those meetings three things are identified:
- The nature of the harm
- The source of the harm (who and what caused the harm)
- Actions that would respond to the harm
Both parties are welcome to bring support people to the meetings.
Step Two: Restorative Justice Conference
During a restorative justice conference, both those who were harmed and those who created the harm are given the opportunity to speak. In both cases, they explain what happened, what harms were caused, who or what is responsible for the harm, and what actions would ameliorate the harm and rebuild community.
There are ground rules for how people are to speak in a restorative justice conference, to avoid creating additional harm. These ground rules are based on our values.
- Be respectful in what you say. Value the dignity of the people who are listening.
- No interruptions. Value the dignity of the person who is speaking.
- Focus on the harm and the harmed individuals. Catholic Social Teaching includes a preferential option for those who are vulnerable.
- Maintain confidentiality and be honest. In order to create a space in which we can be heard, we must maintain confidentiality. This will enable people to be honest.
During the conference, the harmed parties and those who created harm will agree together on what steps need to be taken in order to repair the harm and rebuild community. These steps include action to demonstrate a change of heart and a renewal of trust.
Step Three: Action Steps
Once the participants in the conference agree on a set of action steps to repair harm and rebuild community, a written agreement is signed. The agreement will include a timeline for completion of each action.
Members of the BRT will follow up with those who have agreed to take action, guaranteeing that all agreed upon actions take place.
Understanding the Restorative Justice Process
To learn more about the Restorative Justice Process, we offer these additional resources: