Restorative justice has experienced strong growth in practice, diverse applications, and public interest and support. However, restorative justice research has lagged in comparison. Although the need for research in the field is frequently referenced, restorative justice research has not yet gained the momentum that is vital to the future of the movement. Grounded in three core initiatives, the RJRC seeks to support the advancement of restorative justice research to improve outcomes and address inequities in the US criminal legal system.
1. RESEARCH AGENDA
The RJRC aims to develop a collaborative agenda to help guide and advance restorative justice research in the context of the US criminal legal system. The research agenda will serve as a resource for informing funders, advocates, practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders about priority topics for research and for coordinating efforts among these groups. The development of the research agenda will be multifaceted, seeking broad engagement from a variety of stakeholders. Moreover, the agenda will be developed as a living document that is adapted as new knowledge and shared learnings emerge.
2. RESEARCH NETWORK
The RJRC aims to to bridge the research - practice gap through the development of a Community-based Research Network (CBRN). The CBRN will support collaborative learning and shared data collection, as well as provide a platform for conducting research in real-world settings. Initial development of the CBRN will be done in collaboration with 10 community-based organizations and will be grounded in an applied research activity: identifying “Core Elements” of restorative justice strategies in the context of the US criminal legal system.
3. RESEARCH TRAINING
The RJRC aims to grow the next generation of restorative justice researchers by developing, supporting, and offering training opportunities in restorative research methods and approaches. Efforts will be grounded in the principles of community-engaged research, mixed-methods, implementation science, and other pragmatic approaches.