Source: (2005) Paper presented at "The Next Step: Building Restorative Communities", IIRP 7th International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, 9-11 November, Manchester, England, UK. Downloaded 9 December 2005.

This article will examine four key aspirations of restorative justice advocates: The aspiration to create an alternative to the punishment and rehabilitation paradigms; The objective to develop a victim-centred form of justice; The desire to construct a voluntary way of 'doing' justice; The hope to craft a model of criminal justice which would empower stakeholders in crime. These aspirations will be analyzed in the light of the evidence collected in the course of an empirical study, which involved interviews with participants in family group conferences. The paper will ask: How realistic and desirable are the aspirations of restorative justice advocates? What happens when these ideals are pursued in practice? How valid is the concern that implementing restorative justice within the frame work of criminal law may lead to distortion and subversion of the original vision? (excerpt)

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