Accountability, What Does It Really Mean?

“Accountability” as a term to describe restorative justice.  The idea/definition of accountability is counter to how we think/talk about justice.

Accountability: required to explain actions or decisions to someone.

Wikipedia: It is frequently described as an account-giving relationship between individuals, e.g. “A is accountable to B when A is obliged to inform B about A’s (past or future) actions and decisions, to justify them, and to suffer punishment in the case of eventual misconduct”.

The idea conveyed by this term is that someone is holding another person accountable.  When in fact restorative systems allow the author to hold themselves accountable or we (a whole community that includes the author) are holding everyone (ourselves) accountable (mutual accountability).  RJ is grounded in the philosophy that responsibility is met with action.  If there is responsibility and no action there is no justice.  Yet, when the author, who is responsible for the harm takes action to repair the harm… that is justice.  It needs no authority, punishment, or even forgiveness…

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About rjfacilitator

My experience, education, and passion have met in alternative discipline. Through my policy work and my mediation experience I have worked and studied the dynamic components of discipline in many settings. While Restorative Justice is not the only way to approach conflict in communities, it has provided me an effective model in which to examine and engage in conflict. We provide custom programs for schools, colleges, and youth serving agencies seeking to engage with conflict using healthy and sustainable tools.
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