Source: (2009) Social Justice Research. 22:156-180.

Previous research considering reactions to injustice has focused predominantly on retributive (i.e., punitive) responses. Restorative justice, a relatively understudied concept, suggests an alternative justice response which emphasizes bilateral discussion in an attempt to reach a consensus about the meaning of the offense and how to address the transgression. The current research explores the additional contribution of restorative justice processes, examining the extent to which bilateral consensus is viewed as a fairer response to transgressions than unilateral decisions. Results show that, independent of the punishment, restorative responses are generally regarded as fairer than nonrestorative responses. And compared to punishment, which tends to be moderated by offender intent and seriousness of the harm, restorative responses are regarded as particularly fair when the involved parties share an identity. Findings suggest the importance of distinguishing retributive justice from a ‘‘restorative notion of justice’’—a notion that focuses on addressing concerns over the maintenance of existing social relationships and identity-defining values.(author's abstract)