An overarching look at an alternative approach to punishment.
The swirl of emotions that surround both the victim and perpetrator of a crime makes the institutionalized justice system an incredibly complicated process. Peters attempts to untangle the parts and tease out reasons as to why restorative justice may be a better method to help individuals and communities heal. At a mere six chapters, plus an introduction and conclusion, this seems barely enough to scratch the surface, but Peters offers a solid foundation. She briefly describes a history of law-making in many different cultures and also delves into thorny issues surrounding restorative justice, such as empathy and forgiveness under the hardest of circumstances. Most penetrating, however, are the stories of real-life young conflict-resolution leaders. Children and teens from around the world have formed organizations to help their communities live in peace. Simple red and yellow boxed headings, along with bold, full-page woodcut illustrations, make for arresting design, but no photographs of the incredible young leaders are included. This leads to a distant, impersonal connection rather than an impassioned, inspirational one.
Restorative justice is slippery in both philosophy and practice; Peters gives readers the tools to begin to think critically about their own roles in resolving conflicts both large and small. (glossary, sources, index)(Nonfiction. 12-16)