Skip to content

Restorative Justice Practices

We do more than study systemic challenges. We elevate innovative tools and promising policies and practices that can help dismantle discrimination, resolve inequities, and improve health and education outcomes for women and girls.

New & Noteworthy: Restorative Justice Practices

New Journal Publication: The State of Restorative Justice in American Criminal Law

Initiative on Gender Justice & Opportunity By Thalia González

Case Study: Restorative Empowerment for Youth Pilot Training Program for Girls of Color

Initiative on Gender Justice & Opportunity By Rebecca Epstein, Thalia González, and Rhea Shinde

Join Our Distribution List

About Our Work on Restorative Justice

Restorative justice (RJ) is a solution that offers special benefits to girls, helping support them so that they can learn, heal, and thrive.

Over the past thirty years, RJ practices in schools have expanded throughout the country. School-based RJ is an evidence-based practice used to build relationships to improve school climate, respond to conflict and misconduct, and support individual and community well-being. Evidence has increasingly shown that in addition to reducing discipline disparities, school-based RJ promotes positive student-teacher relationships and peer-to-peer relationships, healthier school climates, increased feelings of self-efficacy, improved academic performance, and social and emotional skill development. Each of these outcomes fosters school connectedness, which ultimately advances health equity for students. Read our issue brief on this topic here.

Whether RJ is implemented in school or communities, we prioritize youth-led RJ that empowers young women and girls and ensures that it aligns with the goals that they themselves identify as necessary for growth.

Analyzing State-by-State Legislative Trends
The Initiative conducted a 50-state assessment of the legislative landscape of school-based RJ and exclusionary school discipline (ESD), which includes suspension and expulsion. Taken together, these fact sheets examine how states are limiting the removal of students from classrooms and which states are promoting RJ. To develop the fact sheets, our team researched laws relating to the full continuum of RJ practices in schools, from disciplinary alternatives to whole-school models, as well as the policies regulating ESD We found that 21 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation supporting use of RJ in schools, and 32 states and the District of Columbia have legislation addressing ESD. Click the fact sheets in our publications section below to learn more.

Upcoming Report Release
Stay tuned for our first in-depth report on RJ. The report will share the results of our multi-year research project, under the leadership of our Senior Scholar Thalia González, which includes qualitative data gathered from focus groups with girls across the country on this issue. They will be used in our culminating report. Below is a quote from one focus group participant that captures some of the impact of the project:

“...[W]ithout restorative justice, I feel like things go too fast. Like, you forget about the root of the problem and you just go to a harsher resolution that is usually not the right one, not the most fair one. But I feel like with restorative justice is when you stop, you calm down, and you just sit there, and you let yourself express what went wrong, what was the reason for it, what’s the best solution for it, and how can we prevent this from happening in the future not just for you, but for people that have, like, done this to - for people that you’ve hurt, for people that have hurt you...”