Restorative Justice in Brazil: Culture of Peace instead of Punishment


A blog from Justica Restaurativa em Debate

The Seminar on Restorative Justice, held by the National Justice Council (CNJ) on Monday and Tuesday (17 and 18/6), was an important step to advance the Judiciary in the application of this modality of conflict resolution and an opportunity to disseminate in society the precepts of a culture of peace instead of the principles of punishment.

The event brought together representatives of almost all state courts and judicial policy makers [emphasis by CPNN] at the Superior Labor Court (TST) in Brasilia in the debate on the current stage of Restorative Justice in the country. In addition, ongoing experiments and the guidelines to be adopted have been presented so that this method of dispute resolution is more intensely employed in Brazilian courts.

The message is optimistic, according to the coordinator of the Restorative Justice Management Committee of the CNJ, counselor Valtércio de Oliveira. “By holding this seminar, I felt that magistrates and servants are motivated to advance in this public policy of Restorative Justice.”

The counselor reported that the majority of the courts of law sent judges and servers to the seminar and that these representatives will be the multipliers of the methodology precepts in the states. “And with the backing of the CNJ,” he said. Valtércio also said that Restorative Justice is a seed that will germinate and grow, gaining more and more supporters.

Restorative Justice is, according to Resolution 225/2016, an “orderly and systemic set of principles, methods, techniques and activities of its own, aimed at raising awareness about relational, institutional and social factors motivating conflicts and violence, and through which conflicts that generate harm, concrete or abstract, are resolved in a structured way. ”

(article continued in right column)

(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

(article continued from left column)

With a different approach to the phenomenon of violence, this method of conflict resolution works with the accountability of aggressors and the repair of the damage in a way that allows the recomposition of broken social bonds.

The suggestions presented by seminar participants will support the formulation of a Development Plan to disseminate the practice of Restorative Justice. The idea is that planning becomes a guideline to the courts for applying the practice based on listening to victims and offenders and seeking redress for damages arising from aggression, violence and crime.

In the seminar, magistrates, servants and judicial policy makers highlighted the benefits of restorative justice as a counterpoint to the culture of punishment, especially in a context marked by the increase in crime in the country and an increase in the number of prisoners in the penitentiary system. According to data from CNJ’s National Bank for Prison Monitoring (BNMP), Brazil’s prison population is more than 800,000 inmates.


During the morning of Tuesday (18/6), four workshops were held on the following topics: Implementation and structure of the Restorative Justice Policy, Training and improvement, Inter-institutional, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary system articulation and Implementation of safe and qualified spaces for Restorative Justice.

During the discussions, suggestions were made for the Judiciary, the Council, courts, magistrates and civil servants. The proposals include: conducting research by the CNJ to verify the effectiveness and effectiveness of this methodology of conflict resolution; articulation with the Executive Branch, the Public Ministry, Public Defenders and the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) to disseminate Restorative Justice as an alternative way of combating crime; definition of a specific public policy for the actions of the practice.

Participants also suggested actions to sensitize judges on this modality of dispute settlement, especially criminal magistrates; formation of Restorative Justice nuclei in prisons, schools and communities; and courses for the formation of people with profiles for the practice of Restorative Justice.

 At the end of the meeting, Judge Alexandre Takashima of the Court of Justice of Santa Catarina, who coordinated the debates, said that all the suggestions will be analyzed when the National Plan for Restorative Justice is formulated. The CNJ is expected to hold a public hearing on the subject in the second half of the yer.