Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice

 Restorative Justice is a concept based on the following principles (adapted from “Restorative Justice Signposts” by Harry Mika and Howard Zehr):

1. Focus on the harms of wrongdoing more than the rules that have been broken.

2. Show equal concern and commitment to victims and offenders, involving both in the justice process.

3. Work toward the restoration of victims, empowering them and responding to their needs as they see them.

4. Support offenders while encouraging them to understand, accept and carry out their obligations.

5. Recognize that while obligations may be difficult for offenders, they should not be intended as harms and they must be achievable.

6. Provide opportunities for dialog, direct or indirect, between victims and offenders as appropriate.

7. Involve and empower the affected community through the justice process, and increase its capacity to recognize and respond to community bases of crime.

8. Encourage collaboration and reintegration rather than coercion and isolation.

9. Give attention to the unintended consequences of our actions and programs.

10. Show respect to all parties including victims, offenders, community members, and justice colleagues.


The Office of Victim and Restorative Justice Programs adheres to the following concepts:

  • Holding offenders accountable for understanding and acknowledging harm to the victim

  • Repairing harm to victims and to communities to the extent possible

  • Providing victims with information, support, and services


Programs developed based on these concepts include the following:

  • Victim Offender Dialog (please refer to the link on the previous page)

  • Victim Impact Classes/Panels (please refer to the link on the previous page)

  • Apology Letter Bank (please refer to the link on the previous page)

  • Circles of Support and Accountability and Mentoring(see below)

Circles of Support and Accountability (CSA) & Mentoring

The officer for Victims and Restorative Justice Programs has established collaborative relationships with the community and faith-based groups who have developed mentoring or CSA programs. A CSA is a type of “group mentoring” providing both support and accountability for offenders re-entering society from DOC custody or supervision.

To learn more about Restorative Justice, visit the following websites:


Printed from the Iowa Department of Corrections website on March 23, 2018 at 2:18am.