You may know of New Zealand as a leader in the use of restorative justice practices to transform their youth justice system. But you may not know that their groundbreaking 1989 legislation also served to dramatically downsize their youth justice system as well as incorporate a fundamental focus on restorative justice. Now over 75% of youth who come in contact with the police are handled through police warnings or diversion.
The National Juvenile Justice Network spent some time to analyze this justice transformation process – including their successes and challenges -- and have translated these findings into important lessons for the U.S. that they share in this paper.
These lessons include the need to 1) place those most harmed by the system at the forefront of the change process; 2) downsize the system drastically; and 3) reorient the remainder around restorative justice.