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A Critical Race Approach to Restorative Justice: The African Nova Scotian Context

Lead Researcher: Michelle Williams

This project will use a "critical race" lens to consider how restorative justice theory and practice could better reflect the needs, concerns and aspirations of African Nova Scotian individuals, families and communities.

Understanding that restorative justice "seeks to restore the social equality in relationships that have been harmed by wrongdoing," (Llewellyn and Howse) a critical race approach compels us to examine restorative justice against the backdrop of pre-existing social equality (or inequality). If, as will be suggested, that pre-existing context or "status quo" is itself comprised of deeply entrenched racialized and related structural inequalities, then two additional questions arise: (1) how does restorative justice theory respond to the reality of fundamental racial inequality in Nova Scotia; and (2) how can restorative justice practice operate to eliminate or at least reduce such inequality and racism?