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.


The RJRC seeks to develop a collaborative agenda to help guide and advance restorative justice research in the context of the US criminal legal system. The development of the 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.


Approaches to developing the agenda include:

  • Comprehensive literature review: Mapping the research literature on restorative approaches in the context of the US criminal legal system. This resource will identify key concepts, gaps in the research, and types and sources of evidence to inform practice, policy, and research.

  • Roundtable discussions: Drawing on experiences, community input, published literature, and lessons from other fields a cohort of 4 RJRC fellows, identified through a competitive request for applications, will engage in an in-depth exploration of selected restorative justice research case-studies to identify emergent patterns, strengths, and needs in the field. There will be 8 virtual round-table sessions. Each session will be summarized on a public blog post for broad community input and reflection.

  • Speaker events: Justice scholars events will provide an opportunity to learn from national and international leaders advancing restorative justice research in real-world settings. Each scholar will share about their work through a virtual presentation and discussion, sparking meaningful conversation and reflection amongst a diverse audience of academics, policy makers, practitioners, funders, and more.

  • Agenda setting retreat: An in-person community gathering in Burlington VT to reflect on shared learnings from the literature review, round-table discussions, and speaker events. This event will support student participation and community voices, providing a collaborative opportunity for the restorative justice research community to come together, fostering relationships to grow the field.