Restorative Justice in K-12 Schools as a Structural Health Equity Intervention

Authored by: Jelena Todic , Catherine Cubbin , Marilyn Armour

Routledge International Handbook of Delinquency and Health

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367256920
eBook ISBN: 9780429289194
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429289194-20

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Abstract

Over the past decade, restorative justice in K-12 schools has gained national prominence because of its documented potential to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Surprisingly, despite its simultaneous positive impact on factors associated with adolescent and adult health—academic success, school safety, connectedness, and social support—most scholars and practitioners do not associate restorative justice with public health. In the United States, this is especially important because the school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately impacts African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and youth with disabilities, who also experience health inequities. In this chapter we use ecosocial theory and emerging empirical evidence to reframe restorative justice as a structural health intervention. We conclude that implementing restorative justice in K-12 schools has the potential to not only interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, but to also improve educational outcomes for the most marginalized communities in the US and reduce closely associated health inequities.

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