“The Little Book of Restorative Justice” by Howard Zehr

Quick Statistics

  • “The Little Book of Restorative Justice” by Howard Zehr
  • Non-Fiction
  • Read as a hard copy
  • 3/5 stars
  • Finished April 22, 2019

Official Synopsis

Vengeance and bitter violence have had their turns — without redemptive results. How should we as a society respond to wrongdoing? When a crime occurs or an injustice is done, what needs to happen? What does justice require?

Howard Zehr, known worldwide for his pioneering work in transforming our understandings of justice, here proposes workable Principles and Practices for making restorative justice both possible and useful. First he explores how restorative justice is different from criminal justice. Then, before letting those appealing observations drift out of reach, into theoretical space, Zehr presents Restorative Justice Practices.

Zehr undertakes a massive and complex subject and puts it in graspable form, without reducing or trivializing it. This is a handbook, a vehicle for moving our society toward healing and wholeness. This is a sourcebook, a starting point for handling brokenness with hard work and hope. This resource is also suitable for academic classes and workshops, for conferences and trainings.

My Thoughts/Summary

I’m currently reading through a lot of books about education so that I can best learn how to serve my students and this was one of them. You can see my whole list here. This book was very short, and the goal was to basically teach you what restorative justice is and is not, and how it looks. It also touches on places where Restorative Justice systems are currently in use, and the impact it has had on communities.

The reason I rated this book three stars isn’t because it isn’t good or shouldn’t be read. In fact, I truly believe anyone interested in restorative justice as opposed to punitive justice (like our current criminal justice system in the United States), should read this before diving more into restorative justice work. This book however is very basic, and while informative, I didn’t see actual concrete ways in which I could put this in my classroom. I know I want to do it, and it sold me on that, but I wouldn’t know where to begin. I do have a book that is specific to education for me to read as well, but I wished that this book gave me more of an idea of how to institute restorative justice into my life, both in the classroom and in life in general.

Follow-Up Links

(this post does contain affiliate links that help me keep the site going. please consider purchasing using these links if you’re interested in this book! thanks so much xo r)

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One thought on ““The Little Book of Restorative Justice” by Howard Zehr

  1. I’m very heartened that restorative justice is being used in cases of sexual abuse, especially in the family. Many daughters don’t want their father to go to prison; they want the abuse to stop. If the father can be accountable for violating the girl and apologize authentically, there is the possibility—with lots of work and clear boundaries— of mending the relationship.


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