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

Research Report Release!

"Building Foundations of Health and Wellbeing in School: A Study of Restorative Practices and Girls of Color" By Thalia González and Rebecca Epstein

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

Initiative on Gender Justice & Opportunity By Thalia González

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.

Research Report Release: May 2021
With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Initiative conducted a two-year study on how restorative practices in school provide protective health factors for girls of color. In the first study of its kind, we analyzed data gathered from middle and high school Black and Latina girls across the United States. We found that school-based restorative practices improve:

  • Girls’ Connections to Teachers, Peers, and Family
  • Girls’ Sense of Safety and Positive School Climate
  • Girls’ Social-Emotional Skills (SEL)
  • Girls’ Mental Health, Resilience, and Empowerment

These findings are more important now than ever, as schools work to meet the needs of students in the wake of COVID, which has damaged ties to school and exacerbated health and education inequities. As schools reopen, the use of restorative practices can help strengthen students’ connections to school and rebuild the relationships that are essential to educational success and lifelong health.

Click here to download the press release
Click here to download the report