Joliet Diocese Restorative Justice Committee










Restorative Justice Resource List






Moral Principles and Foundations for Restorative Justice: A Call for Criminal and Juvenile Justice Reform in Illinois from the Catholic Diocese of Joliet, Peace and Social Ministry, a Working Paper. This  six page resource provides a concise, easy to read overview of the model of Restorative Justice. is an outreach of the California Catholic Conference offering healing and support to everyone affected by the criminal justice system throughout the U.S.  This site is made possible by a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development at the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.The purpose of is to offer a place of compassion and assistance, resources and services and educational information for anyone who is affected by crime - victims of crime, offenders and their families, corrections staff, chaplains, criminal justice system employees and management, and advocates for restorative justice.


Diocese of Richmond Restorative Justice page


Moving from Retributive Justice to Restorative Justice article on the Hill Connections website of Servants of Mary of Ladysmith, WI..


scroll down to “Guiding Principles” in this article by Kay Pranis


Retribution and Restoration: The Two Paths, Elizabeth Linehan, Loyola University New Orleans Vol LV1, No 5, January 2003. This article provides a nice discussion and offers real life examples of crimes, offenders, victims and the possible application of retributive v. restorative justice.


Explore this site for various approaches and discussion ideas.


Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice a statement of the Catholic Bishops of the United States


I Have Come to Heal… Restorative Justice Catholic Bishops of the South Pastoral on Restorative Justice


St. Vincent DePaul Society publication Position Statement on Restorative Justice: Recommendations by the Voice of the Poor Committee Council of the United States. The section on page 2 addressing principles of restorative justice provides a good overview of the principles to share with others. The section on Recommendations for Councils and Conferences on page 3 could be utilized in classroom discussion and in an action plan such as making suggestions to your parish liturgy committee or parish council.


For those with access (by subscription) to the Center of Concerns Education for Justice site, this interactive quiz on prisons is packed with information and includes discussion questions at the end as well as excerpts from various church documents. Would be useful for parish groups as well as classrooms.


Restorative Action: A Community Approach to Conflict in Secondary Schools Do you have such a program in your school? Here’s an example of what can be done.


Bloom Township ( Cook County) program for youth offenders



Information on restorative justice in schools and links to other sites


Minnesota Department of Education offers a 20 page manual you can download Respecting Everyone’s Ability to Solve Problems: Restorative Measures. It contains examples of the type of incidents handled, background on why a restorative measure is better for the victim, offender, school and community and an easily followed plan to establish such a program in your own school.


A guide to using the Little Book of Restorative Justice (see listing below in Books) in youth court, this site gives hands on activities for groups interested in learning more.



John Howard Association “provides public oversight” for the state’s many correctional institutions and works for reform.


The Safer Foundation helps formerly incarcerated individuals reenter society and works to reduce recidivism.


This Joliet based agency has 31 years experience in finding jobs for released men and women.


The Rescue Foundation helps ex-offenders learn business skills and provides funding to start businesses.



North Lawndale Employment Network site detailing Sweet Beginnings, a program providing transitional jobs in beekeeping and related industries for formerly incarcerated individuals.



Read about a Chicago area businessman’s plan to help ex offenders find employment and own their own businesses—Felony Franks hot dog stands.





The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding offer several books on restorative justice including The Little Book of Biblical Justice, The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools, The Little Book of Circle Processes and The Little Book of Restorative Justice. The books are inexpensive, well written and offer concise, concrete introductions to their various topics.,


Restoring Peace, Using Lessons from Prison to Mend Broken Relationships

Kirk Blackard Trafford Publishing Bridges to Life ministers to both offenders and victims restoring broken relationships as detailed in this book. www. bridgesto



Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims, Howard Zehr. Good Books, 1969 Victimized persons share the unimaginable ongoing horror of the crimes committed against them.


Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences, Howard Zehr. Good Books, 1996 Men and women doing life sentences share their stories.


Changing Lenses: A New Focus on Crime and Justice, Howard Zehr. Herald Press, 1990


Azim’s Bardo-A Father’s Journey from Murder to Forgiveness, Azim Khamisa and Carl Coldner. Rising Star Press 1998 A father searches his own heart for compassion and forgiveness following the murder of his 20 year old son by an eighth grader.


Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, Helen Prejean. Vintage, 1994 Walk with Sr. Helen as she accompanies a man on death row and comes to understand the layers of pain in the families of victims and the humanity of the man convicted of the crimes.

(Parish or other small group project? See reader’s guide at:


USCCB “A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death” discussion guide



check out the information under the film listing under “FILMS”)


Forgiving the Dead Man Walking:Only One Woman Can Tell the Entire Story, Debbie Morris. Zondervan, 2000 Kidnapped and raped by one of the men later accompanied by Sr. Helen Prejean and forced to deal with the brutal death of her boyfriend, Debbie Morris shares her journey toward forgiveness.


Critical Issues in Restorative Justice, Howard Zehr. Criminal Justice Press, 2004 Looks at developments in the movement and issues facing us now.




A Justice that Heals Documentary based in Evanston Illinois. Although not targeting the issue of restorative justice explicitly, this documentary offers a moving look at reconciliation between a young offender and his victim’s mother and the efforts of a local pastor to involve the church community in the healing process. Available through:


Dead Man Walking Available at most video rentals. Study guide available at




Reflections on “Dead Man Walking Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ and Lucille Sarrat


Renew International offers this Impact Series faith sharing booklet for small communities. (series also offers Discipleship of Nonviolence booklet) (Also see reader’s guide information under book listing in Book section.)



Small Group Study


Prison Reform: The Church of the Second Chance -

This module, from JustFaith, was designed and written by Jens Soering, someone on the “inside,” and does not try to soften the gritty truth of prison reality.  Soering introduces the “radical” Christian principle of restorative justice, points out the critical need for comprehensive prison reform, and provides a strong critique of the U.S. prison system.  At the same time, he focuses throughout the module on the power of centering prayer and the Christian messages of reconciliation and redemption.  This six session module, while focusing on the factual background for prison reform, is grounded in a deep spirituality and sense of humanity.  It highlights interviews with long-term inmates and ministers from the “outside.”   


Registration for the module is $100; additional costs include a per person cost of $23.00 for books and a per group cost of $62.00 for DVDs.   For more information, contact Mary Wright: mary

A flyer for the module is available here. A registration form is available HERE.





Arts and Books Projects


The Tamms Poetry Committee This Chicago area neighborhood-based program sends poems and letters to every man in Tamms Supermax Prison and responds to every letter received in return. Check out their website to learn more about the program.


This organization promotes “the arts as a vehicle to further the goals of criminal and restorative justice by exchanging information and best practices, gaining the knowledge and tools to overcome common challenges, facilitating dialogue between artists, correction officials and policy makers and by fostering partnerships between artists and correctional systems.” They sponsor a national conference as well.


Founded by Lisa Wagner, Stillpoint Theater in Chicago runs several outreach programs for incarcerated women. Their production Strong Women based on writings of women in Cook County Jail is available to parishes. Check out their website for justice related projects such as the Persephone Project offering workshops in various correctional institutions in the Greater Chicagoland area.


Midwest Books to Prisoners project has information on helping to provide reading material to those who are incarcerated and also has links to PBS, newspaper etc articles regarding current issues in the justice system.


Chicago Books to Women in Prison provides books to women prisoners only in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Ohio


A Prayer for Prisoners


Jesus, with the Father and the Holy Spirit:

Give us your compassion for those in prison.

Mend in mercy the broken in mind and memory.

Soften the hard of heart, the captives of anger.

Free the innocent; parole the trustworthy.

Awaken the repentance that restores hope.

May prisoners’ families persevere in their love.


Jesus, heal the victims of crime who live with the scars.

Lift to eternal peace those who die.

Grant to victims’ families the forgiveness that heals.

Give wisdom to lawmakers and to those who judge.

Instill prudence and patience in those who guard.

Make those in prison ministry bearers of your light.

For all of us are in need of your mercy.

Amen! Amen!! Amen!!!


by Thomas Comber, CSP


Last updated 4/24/2009




Copyright 2009 | Peace and Social Justice Ministry