As the profile of restorative justice in tertiary education grows, this research examines the impact of Canada’s most long-standing undergraduate, restorative justice course. This dissertation documents the genesis of Simon Fraser University’s restorative justice course (RJC) from the perspective of several course developers. The study utilizes established survey and interview methods from the field of transformative learning to evaluate whether RJC students experienced perspective transformation, what they feel facilitated that transformation, the impact of it, and whether the transformation was enduring. The findings indicate that the majority of respondents experienced perspective transformation from retributive to restorative. For many, this transformation involved more than changing views about crime and justice. Students reported transformations of beliefs, feelings, and relationships that led to changes in behaviour with respect to their vocation, volunteer work, education, and personal lives. These transformations were sustained over time and participants provided feedback on how the RJC could play a role in advancing restorative justice beyond the university setting. This study provides concrete recommendations for how restorative justice education can create personal transformations that can move restorative justice from the margins to the mainstream inside and outside of the criminal justice system.
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Thesis advisor: Morrison, Brenda
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