Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research


Research focused on the intersection of social media messages and perceptions of restorative justice has the potential to provide insight on criminal justice reform. In light of national conversations about mass incarceration, restorative justice has become a topic of conversation on social media, particularly among activists. This research utilized qualitative interviews (n = 20) to ascertain Gen Z college students’ familiarity with, understanding of, and interpretation of messages about restorative justice as portrayed in social media posts that they have been exposed to during the course of their everyday lives. The study found that most participants learned about restorative justice in the classroom and generally had positive perceptions of restorative justice, and that many believed the general public likely views restorative justice as “soft on crime.” Additionally, the severity of the crime influenced how accepting participants were of restorative justice. These findings have the potential to contribute to the literature on restorative justice, as well as to current advocacy practices as they are perceived by young adults.