Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a concept of justice that involves the victim, the offender, and the community in the healing process. Globally, restorative justice practices can be viewed as an alternative to incarceration and revenge, enabling all parties to communicate, attempt to understand what has happened to the community, and then proceed to healing and restoration. These tasks can be accomplished through various means, from traditional talking circles to formal victim/offender mediation conferences. This is a difficult process and requires thoughtfulness, awareness, and inner strength.  Restorative justice practices help to unify communities affected by crime and to transform community members divided by the criminal justice system.

The Mural Arts Program incorporates the concepts of restorative justice through art instruction, mural making, and community service work within the criminal justice system. Current inmates, probationers and parolees, and juvenile delinquents are given the opportunity to learn new skills and make a positive contribution to their communities to repair the prior harm they may have caused. In the Mural Arts Restorative Justice program there is a growing emphasis on re-entry, reclamation of civic spaces, and the use of art to give voice to people who have consistently felt disconnected from society.

Mural Arts engages in collaborations with numerous government and nonprofit agencies, including:

  • City of Philadelphia Youth Violence Reduction Partnership
  • Pennsylvania Prison Society
  • Philadelphia Department of Human Services
  • Philadelphia Prison System
  • St. Gabriel's System
  • State Correctional Institution at Graterford

Through weekly programs and opportunities for involvement in mural projects, Mural Arts provides art instruction to over 300 inmates and 200 juveniles every year.

Annually the Restorative Justice program participants produce large-scale outdoor murals that incorporate community outreach and/or workshops in poetry, writing, ceramics, and other mediums.

Listen to a podcast about our Restorative Justice Program
A Philadelphia Story, episode 4: Paint by Numbers

For more information about the Restorative Justice programs, contact:

Robyn Buseman
Restorative Justice Program Director
(215) 685-0726
robyn.buseman@muralarts.org