A Reinterpretation of Restorative Justice through Black and Native Feminisms
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This thesis seeks to reorient the ideological foundations of restorative justice through feminist epistemologies to explore possibilities of how the movement might more fully actualize its values. The Three Pillars of Restorative Justice, conceptualized by Howard Zehr, offer an alternative process to the punitive recourse of the criminal justice system and serve as the foundation of mainstream restorative practices. However, the praxis and analytical discourse have stalled due to the limited binary of criminal and restorative justice frameworks. My thesis uses methodologies prominent in Black and Native feminisms-- such as critical thinking, contextual intelligence, and imagining futurity-- to complicate assumptions embedded in the criminal/restorative justice relationship. I establish the framework of restorative justice and briefly summarize the essential paradoxes to make clear the parallels and limits of the relationship. I then use feminist methodologies to reinterpret the pillars' values and introduce how some activists have begun to reimagine justice.