Handbook of Restorative Justice


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Edited by Russell S. Cropanzano and Maureen L. Ambrose

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An optimistic interpreter of the diversity and conflict within the field would, as the editors suggest, see this as an indication of the strength of a powerful social movement, while others would see it as a sign of a fractured movement unable to get traction with the forces in government and the broad community who need to take restorative justice seriously if its potential is to be realised. The Handbook goes on to examine some of the intellectual, cultural and other underpinnings of restorative justice and its often oversimplified links with other social movements.

This is followed by several contributions focusing on processes, outcomes and stakeholders in restorative justice. Next we find several chapters looking at how restorative justice is being developed in various social contexts both within and beyond the justice system including schools and, importantly, the more ambitious applications of restorative justice in Truth Commissions and as a response to terrorism and religious violence where it might have a transformative role. Perhaps the weakest section of this volume is that devoted to the evaluation of restorative justice where there are only two contributions.

This reification of the concept may be seen by some as problematic: what if it turns out that another concept, such as procedural justice, accounts for positive outcomes? That is not to say that there should not be close attention paid to what constitutes best practice in restorative justice; indeed, that may be the most pressing need of all, given the sloppy way much restorative justice has been mainstreamed and the abandon with which the term is applied to practices a million miles from most accepted views of its core. On these points the chapter offers useful advice. The editors observe that the rise of restorative justice has been accompanied by a large and diverse body of research and scholarship, much of which is represented in this volume.

It has also been accompanied by much advocacy, many unsupported claims and some imprecise or overtly biased research. Indeed some would say that the biggest obstacle restorative justice faces in being widely adopted is its overselling to criminal justice policy makers. The strategic issues for a social movement confronting practical politics form a large gap in the coverage of the volume. Even so, the Handbook editors are to be congratulated on the way in which such a diverse range of views and subject fields have been organised and on the useful summaries that appear at the beginning of each of the book's seven sections.

Broadly speaking it represents the state of many debates around restorative justice. Surveying the horizon, restorative justice may still be heading for a lingering end. But the energy in this book suggests that it may yet burst though and radically impact on justice worldwide.

Restorative Justice Handbook

Everything we know about its potential and much of what we know empirically points to such an optimistic version of the future — or not. Volume 48 , Issue 2. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username.

Free Access. Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Restorative justice has also been implemented in schools. This approach develops and fosters empathy, as participating parties must come to understand the needs of all stakeholders in order for the conflict to be fully rectified.

Behavioral problems stemming from grief, for example, may be recognized and acknowledged within restorative justice programs; as a result, the party would be referred to a counselor to receive grief counseling. By approaching student discipline with restorative justice in the forefront, conflicts may be resolved to meet the funding needs of the school district- by way of reduced student absenteeism, rehabilitate the offending party, and to restore justice and make whole the wronged party.

Collectivity and empathy are further developed by having students participate in restorative justice circles in administering roles such as mediators or jurors. Restorative justice requires a form of meeting between the offender and the victim. A Cochrane review stressed the need for the offender to meet the victim face-to-face. Many restorative justice systems, especially victim-offender mediation and family group conferencing, require participants to sign a confidentiality agreement. These agreements usually state that conference discussions will not be disclosed to nonparticipants. The rationale for confidentiality is that it promotes open and honest communication.

Victim-offender dialogue VOD , also called victim-offender mediation , victim-offender conferencing, victim-offender reconciliation, or restorative justice dialogue , is usually a meeting, in the presence of one or two trained facilitators, between victim and offender. This system generally involves few participants, and often is the only option available to incarcerated offenders.

Victim Offender Dialogue originated in Canada as part of an alternative court sanction in a Kitchener, Ontario case involving two accused vandals who met face-to-face with their many victims.

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Family group conferencing FGC has a wider circle of participants than VOD, adding people connected to the primary parties, such as family, friends and professionals. Fiji uses this form of mediation when dealing with cases of child sexual assault. While it may be seen as beneficial to involve the victim's family in the process, there are multiple issues stemming from this.

For example, the vast majority of offenders are known to the victims in these cases.

Restorative Justice: Victim Offender Mediation Overview by Mark Umbreit

In a Fijian context, the notion of family extends wider than that of the normative Western idea. Therefore, involving the family in these cases may become complicated, for the family may not necessarily side with the victim or the process itself could cause rifts in within the clan. Furthermore, the process as a whole places much emphasis on the victim forgiving the offender, as opposed to the offender making amends with the victim. Overall, the current process has the potential to cause great trauma and revictimise the victim. There are many different names and procedures of operation for these community-based meetings.

Restorative Circles refers to restorative justice conferences in Brazil [50] [51] and Hawaii , [52] though can have a wider meaning in the field of restorative practices. A conference will typically include the victim, the offender and members of the local community, who have typically received some training. RC is explicitly victim-sensitive. The discussion continues until restitution is agreed; they may also see that the agreement is fulfilled.

The largest restorative justice conference in history took place in the course of the reconciliation campaign that ended the blood feuds among ethnic Albanians in Kosovo , which was attended by between , and , participants. This approach has demonstrated the capacity to enhance the safe integration of otherwise high-risk sex offenders with their community. Canada judges some sex offenders too dangerous for any form of conditional release, "detaining" them until they serve their entire sentence.

A subsequent conviction often leads to designation as a "Dangerous Offender". Prior to , many such offenders were released without any support or observation beyond police surveillance. Between and , CoSA assisted with the integration of well over such offenders. CoSA projects now exist in every Canadian province and every major urban centre. CoSA projects are also operational in several U. Sentencing circles sometimes called peacemaking circles use traditional circle ritual and structure to involve all interested parties. The procedure commonly works as follows: the offender applies for the intervention, a healing circle is held for the victim, a healing circle is held for the offender, a sentencing circle is held and finally, follow-up circles to monitor progress.

Positive criminology and positive victimology are conceptual approaches, developed by the Israeli criminologist Natti Ronel and his research team, that are well connected to restorative justice theories and practice. Positive criminology and victimology both place an emphasis on social inclusion and on unifying and integrating forces at individual, group, social and spiritual levels that are associated with the limiting of crime and recovery from victimization.

A common understanding is that human relationships are affected more by destructive encounters than by constructive or positive ones. Positive criminology and victimology argue that a different approach is viable, based on three dimensions — social integration, emotional healing and spirituality — that constitute positive direction indicators.

Prison abolition not only calls for the eradication of cages, but also new perspectives and methodologies for conceptualizing crime, an aim that is shared by restorative justice. In an abolitionist style of restorative justice, participation is voluntary and not limited by the requirements of organizations or professionals, the process includes all relevant stakeholders and is mediated by an independent third party. The emphasis is on meeting the needs of and strengthening the community. A meta-study of all research projects concerning restorative justice conferencing published in English between and found positive results, specifically for victims: [2].

It highlights the importance of a victim-centered approach to determine the most effective mode of implementation for a comprehensive reparations program. The main finding of the report is that victims demand tangible basic benefits lost as a product of violence, such as food and shelter.

It also acknowledges the need for symbolic reparations, such as formal apologies. The provision of reparations will in a sense create a restoration of the way life was before violence, and also signal the moving forward of a society through institutional change. Its goal is to establish whether restorative justice can lead to better relations between the police and minority groups.

Its first stage is to look at the extent and role of RJ programs within the countries. The second stage is to look at the position of certain minority populations within the societies, with the study focusing on Turks in Germany, Roma in Hungary and Africans in Austria. The involvement of the police in RJ programs for minority populations will be explored. Finally, the proposed research will give examples of when RJ can be used to improve communication and interaction between the police and minority groups.


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The study deals with countries that use the civil law legal system, in contrast to the common law legal system of English-speaking countries. Reduction of recidivism is also a goal of RJ, [60] secondary to the restoration of offenders. While some older studies showed mixed results, as of , studies that compared recidivism rates have become more definitive and in favor of Restorative Justice.

A meta-analysis by Bonta et al. This study is important because it addresses the file-drawer problem. Also, some of the studies analyzed implemented a randomized controlled trial a gold standard in research methods , although this does not represent the majority of studies included. This meta-analysis lends empirical support for the effectiveness of RJ to lower recidivism rates and increase compliance and satisfaction rates. However, the authors caution that a self-selection bias is rife through most studies of restorative justice.

They reference authors from one study [69] who found no evidence that restorative justice has a treatment effect on recidivism beyond a self-selection effect. The third meta-analysis on the effectiveness of RJ was conducted by Bradshaw, Roseborough, and Umbreit in The results of this meta-analysis add empirical support for the effectiveness of RJ in reducing juvenile recidivism rates. Since then, studies by Baffour in and Rodriguez have also concluded that RJ reduces recidivism rates compared to the traditional justice system.

Bergseth and Bouffard supported these findings and also concluded that there may be some long-term effects of RJ over the traditional justice system; as well as RJ being more effective with serious crimes, RJ participants are less likely to commit serious crimes if they do re-offend and they go longer without re-offending. All of these studies found that RJ is equally effective regardless of race.

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In , Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang published a review of the previous literature and they conclude that in no way can RJ be more harmful than the traditional justice system. It is at least equally as effective as the traditional justice system in all cases. In most cases especially with more serious offenses and with adult offenders it is significantly more effective than the traditional justice system at lowering recidivism rates.

It also reduced crime victims' post-traumatic stress symptoms and related costs and desires for violent revenge against their offenders.


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It provided both victims and offenders with more satisfaction with justice than the alternative, and saved money overall. A recent meta-analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration on the effect of youth justice conferencing on recidivism in young offenders found that there was no significant effect for restorative justice conferencing over normal court procedures for number re-arrested, nor monthly rate of reoffending.

They also noted a lack of high quality evidence regarding the effectiveness of restorative justice conferencing for young offenders. According to Morris, the following are some of the most common criticisms that are used against the practicality or realism of restorative justice:. Another critique of restorative justice suggests that professionals are often left out of the restorative justice conversation. Albert W. Dzur and Susan M. Olson argue that this sector of justice cannot be successful without professionals. They claim that professionals can aid in avoiding problems that come up with informal justice and propose the theory of democratic professionalism, where professionals are not just agents of the state — as traditional understandings would suggest — but as mediums, promoting community involvement while still protecting individuals' rights.

Additionally, some critics like Gregory Shank and Paul Takagi see restorative justice as an incomplete model in that it fails to fix the fundamental, structural inequalities that make certain people more likely to be offenders than others. Finally, some researchers agree that more research must be conducted to support the validity of restorative justice in schools, specifically in how its implemented.

Some judicial systems only recognize monetary restitution agreements. Some agreements specify a larger monetary amount e. Many jurisdictions cap the amount which a juvenile offender can be required to pay. Labor regulations typically limit the personal service tasks that can be performed by minors. In addition, personal service usually must be approved by the juvenile's parents. According to the Victim Offender Mediation Association, victims are not allowed to profit from restitution the equivalent of punitive damages ; only out-of-pocket losses actual damages can be recovered.

Courts can disallow unreasonable compensation arrangements. Both victim and offender can be hesitant to engage in victim-offender dialogue later in the criminal justice process. Once an offender starts serving a sentence, they may believe that the sentence is how they take responsibility for their actions rather than conversing with the victim.

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For victims, the trial and the sentencing of the offender may terminate the possibilities for discussion. For both offender and victim, victim-offender dialogue is limited in the amount of trust between the two parties. Studies by Kelly M. Richards have shown that the general public would be open to the idea of alternative forms of justice, though only after the idea has been explicitly explained to them.

The use of forgiveness as a tool has in the restorative justice programs, run for victims and perpetrators of Rwandan genocide , the violence in Israeli—Palestinian conflict , and Northern Ireland conflict , has also been documented in film, Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness The documentary A Better Man follows a meeting between a woman who is recovering from domestic violence and the ex-partner. Season 2 episode 5 of the NPR podcast Mindshift [81] compares two schools that use restorative discipline practices, one that has already made the transition and one that is just beginning to use these practices.

Peace Alliance hosts a twice weekly discussion forum on restorative justice called Restorative Justice on the Rise. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Criminology and penology Theory. Types of crime. Chicago school Classical school Conflict criminology Critical criminology Environmental criminology Feminist school Integrative criminology Italian school Left realism Marxist criminology Neo-classical school Positivist school Postmodernist school Right realism.

Index Journals Organizations People. Open prison Peacemaking criminology Positive psychology Recidivism Rehabilitation penology Reintegrative shaming Restorative justice Right realism Social integration Therapeutic jurisprudence. Main article: Circles of Support and Accountability. University of Pennsylvania. International Review of Victimology. The Good Society. Scottdale PA: 3rd ed , Retrieved New Province, N. Scottdale PA: , — Ministry of Justice, New Zealand. Retrieved 17 September

Handbook of Restorative Justice Handbook of Restorative Justice
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Handbook of Restorative Justice Handbook of Restorative Justice
Handbook of Restorative Justice Handbook of Restorative Justice
Handbook of Restorative Justice Handbook of Restorative Justice
Handbook of Restorative Justice Handbook of Restorative Justice
Handbook of Restorative Justice Handbook of Restorative Justice
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