Transformative justice seeks to take restorative justice much broader and looks at both the past and present harms holistically that cause the crimes committed. It seeks to transform the systems not only the situation. Anthony Nocella writes that, “Restorative justice stresses that the system is flawed, overworked, and retributive, but does not address why it exists, how it is racist, sexist, ableist, and classist, who it benefits, and how it was developed. Transformative justice however is explicitly opposed to helping someone get arrested, imprisoned, fired from their job, repressed, or oppressed. It is about looking for the good in others, while also being aware of complex systems of domination.” If the world is to transform, we need everyone to transform and everyone to be voluntarily in critical dialogue together.
Each faith tradition exists as an alternative to the societies in which they emerged. They seek to transform in totality somehow the systems and institutions contemporary to them. The prophetic lens offers an alternative view to society. In creating a restorative justice framework rooted in faith traditions and communities, we create an alternative to the punitive system we have now. A faith rooted community based wholistic system of care is a visionary undertaking that seeks to transform the juvenile justice system that uses prisons, fines, penalties, retribution and racial targeting to instead use restorative principles.
To transform the current system using a restorative and transformative theological lens faith communities and communities at large must work together to frame the moral imperative and form the solutions to bring about total systems change.
SandSJ has been on the forefront of transformation in New Jersey. Our work on Youth Justice, Policing, and Sentencing is just the beginning. Additionally, and most importantly we must transform the political process through a United Black Agenda!