Brazil: Ministry of Education advances the debate on restorative justice


An article from the Ministry of Education in Brazil

On Tuesday, November 28th, the 2nd Restorative Justice Dialogue in Schools was organized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) through the Secretariat of Continuing Education, Youth and Adult Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion (Secadi). The initiative is in partnership with the National Council of Justice (CNJ) and aims to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in schools. The broadcast is available on the MEC YouTube Channel.

This second meeting featured the participation of judge Egberto de Almeida Penido and judge Roberto Portugal Bacellar. The debate was moderated by Yann Evanovick Furtado, general coordinator of Educational Policies for Youth, at Secadi.

According to  judge Roberto Portugal Bacellar, having a new look at the issue of authority makes it possible to work in a cooperative, integrative manner and with a systemic vision. “The idea of restorative justice is that we can analyze a conflict with a complex, systemic view, instead of seeing it as a fragmented episode. We analyze it not as a portrait, but as a film, where we can try to learn about each person’s story,” he explained. According to the judge, restorative justice is participatory and a conflict must be treated together by all who are involved, including students, teachers, principals and even the community.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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According to judge Egberto de Almeida Penido, restorative justice in schools is an initiative to deal not only with violence, but with the construction of an environment of fair coexistence. “When we talk about restorative justice, we are talking about the value of justice, which is a very expensive value, too precious to be in the hands of jurists alone. It concerns each and every one, the way we respond to what affects us”, he stated. According to him, schools that have adhered to restorative practices have seen a drop in the rate of violence.

Dialogues – The Restorative Justice in Schools cycle of dialogues is part of the Technical Cooperation Agreement for the implementation of the “Restorative Justice in Schools” project, signed by the MEC and the CNJ on November 14th. The debates are a preparation for the implementation of restorative practices in the school environment in 2024. The objective is to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in schools, using practices that involve dialogue, accountability and repairing the damage caused by conflicts.

Agreement – The Technical Cooperation Agreement for the implementation of the “Restorative Justice in Schools” project has the objective of contributing resources so that schools can create environments that facilitate the confrontation of internal violence. It is based on qualified listening and restoration and strengthening of relationships that permeate the school environment. These actions require the commitment of the entire school community (leaders, teachers, students, parents) and society, as well as through the training of professionals and students who have an interface with the education network.

The project also includes: partnership between the courts; the participation of magistrates and civil servants; institutional partners; and the education system and its schools. The dissemination of the basic notions about the various possibilities and functionalities of restorative justice is the responsibility of the CNJ’s Restorative Justice Steering Committee.

The Technical Cooperation Agreement requires the Ministry of Education and the National Council of Justice must promote articulation, management, awareness-raising and training actions in order to achieve restorative justice in the educational system.