Australian criminologist John Braithwaite once wrote, “crime hurts, so justice should heal” (2004). This is a great way to describe the central concept behind restorative practices. Rather than just focusing on punishment of offenders, restorative practices seek to heal harm done against the targets of an offense as a responsive strategy. The primary focus, however, of a restorative approach is to minimize the conditions that might lead to an offense in the first place.
Workplace cultures that help people get their basic needs met, are trauma informed, utilize positive behavior supports, and reinforce the development of social capital, are safer workplace cultures. An environment that is set up to increase the quality of life for its inhabitants will also improve the quality of behavior of its inhabitants. When we understand the main causes of conflict in the workplace, we can develop proactive strategies to redirect destructive forms of conflict to more helpful and constructive problem solving.
At the Mandt System, we support the use of restorative practices primarily as a preventative measure. If, however, prevention is ineffective, de-escalation and intervention strategies may be a critical component in reducing workplace violence. Once the situation has de-escalated and stabilized, restorative practices can then also be utilized to repair relationships and begin the healing process.
John Windsor – Director of Technical Curricula
Braithwaite, John (2004). “Restorative Justice and De-Professionalization”. The Good Society. 13 (1): 28–31.