Nonviolence and Restorative Justice

A Keystone Issue

Yes, I have been a wretched person, but I have redeemed myself. And I say to you and all those who can listen and will listen that redemption is tailor-made for the wretched, and that’s what I used to be. . . . That’s how I would like my legacy to be remembered as: a redemptive transition, something that I believe is not exclusive just for the so-called sanctimonious, the elitists. . . . It’s accessible for everybody. That’s the beauty about it.  ~ “Tookie” Williams, radio interview, 2009

Please use the following resources as an in-depth look at the theory and practice of restorative justice as it pertains to building a nonviolent future.

After you have read and listened to these materials, answer the questions below. You can email your responses to ask [at] mettacenter [dot] org with “Self-Study: Restorative Justice” in the subject line. If you would like to be in contact with Metta Center with questions, please feel welcome to email us.


  • Audio: Michael Nagler on restorative justice with Molly Rowan Leach



Questions for Self-Study: 

1. What is restorative justice and how does it differ from retributive justice?

2. Do we have a culture that values forgiveness? Give specific examples to back up your claim.

3.  In what specific ways has retribution been institutionalized in our world?

4. What does having a sense of being interconnected have to do with the way we handle conflicts? Give an example.

5. In what ways are individuals, organizations and societies working to build restoration into our institutions (or parallel institutions)? What challenges might they face?

6. Research an organization that practices or teaches restorative justice, such as Restorative Circles or AVP (or…). Describe how their work fits into the theory that you have explored at the Metta Center.

7. Personal reflection: in your life, where do you see the possibility for restorative practices and thinking? How might you go about implementing those changes and what would you need for support?

8. What is atonement and what does it add to the restorative framework?

Extra Credit:  How is restorative justice a keystone issue in nonviolence? Hint: Learn about constructive program.