Source: (2001) Criminal Justice Policy Review 12(1).

The emerging notion of restorative justice loosely rests on several related, though distinct, theoretical, religious, and historical traditions. Efforts to implement restorative justice policies in the criminal processes in the United States have recently experienced a dramatic upsurge. However, successful implementation and theory testing both require careful theoretical specification, something that restorative justice currently seems to lack. This article attempts to identify heretofore unaddressed theoretical problems and offers future directions for researchers and practitioners to both ameliorate those problems and permit adequate testing and implementation. The article also describes current applications of restorative justice programs for offenders that may help clarify conceptual ambiguity.