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Restorative justice gains momentum in Korea


Cover of Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr

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April 5, 2011
-Gordon Janzen

Winnipeg, Man. —  In South Korea, retribution is often seen as a first response to criminal behaviour.  Restorative justice approaches that give consideration to the human elements behind criminal behaviour have been largely limited to the involvement of a few mediators who work with the family court to settle disputes outside of the conventional justice system.

Mennonite Church Canada’s partner in Korea, the Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) is helping to introduce the concept of restorative justice to Korean readers. As a step toward this objective, KAC recently completed the translation and publication in Korean of Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr (Herald Press, 1990) through its ministry, the Korea Anabaptist Press (KAP).

Zehr’s book “seeks…to identify and evaluate some of the basic assumptions we make about crime, about justice, about how we live together” and attempts to “unravel the experience [of violation, from both sides of the issue], viewing it as a human tragedy involving real people – people who are in many ways much like us.”

KAC has successfully distributed this book to a number of people working in areas of law enforcement, education, and the church.

The newly published text provides solid material for a Restorative Justice training program that helps to develop mediation skills through the framework of healing and hope. The translated version will increase accessibility.    

KAP plans to follow publication of Changing Lenses with additional restorative justice texts in 2011 and beyond, including selected material from the Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding series originally published by Good Books in the US.  Four new releases are expected from KAP in 2011.

KAC and the Connexus language institute are served in a variety of ways by Mennonite Church Canada workers  Erv and Marian Wiens, Sarah and Sam Blackwell, and Sheri Martens

Click here to link to the Resource Center and borrow: Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice