Unfortunately, Restorative Justice has been a misunderstood if not completely unheard-of term. It is actually an umbrella term that covers a wide range of services. On rare occasions non-profit organizations which provide these kinds of services have appeared on Oprah, Montel Williams, and various other television talk shows. Each time they show evidence of the powerful need for each of their programs.
One famous proponent of Restorative Justice in Los Angeles is Father Gregory Boyle, S.J. Father Boyle's work started in an East LA neighborhood where the street violence between Mexican gangs was being committed by youngsters who only later found out that their extended families had close ties to the families of their victims. In many cases, the families of the victims and the perpetrators went to the same church, which brought the wound in the community directly into the congregation.
Father Boyle was instrumental in helping those families to heal, as well as brokering peace between the gangs and bringing reformed ex-offenders who had completed jail and prison sentences into public forums and personal discussions to share their testimonies, to heal the community's wounds and to divert youngsters from the road to prison. To find out more about the full range of services (so far!) under the umbrella of Restorative Justice, begin here.
You'll be amazed. And perhaps, hopeful at last...