Source: (2004) Paper presented at the "5th International Conference on Conferencing & Circles", organized by the International Institute for Restorative Practices, August 5-7, Vancouver, Canada. Downloaded 3 December 2004

Kelly Richards states at the beginning of this paper that academic literature on restorative justice has given little attention to the history of the movement. Many papers and books open with a brief summary of the movement’s history. Yet, Richards claims, these summaries often conflict with one another – with the origins of restorative justice being located in very diverse sources, such as the victims’ rights movement, indigenous justice practices, a range of religious stances, and so on. Additionally, a number of important problems arise in these attempts at portraying the history of the movement. These problems include, for example, when should this history begin? Should a history of restorative justice begin when the modern term “restorative justiceâ€? came into use? Or, should it begin with historical precursors such as restitution or indigenous justice? In view of all of this, Richards analyzes restorative justice “history-makingâ€? to argue the following hypothesis: that restorative justice literature uses history as a strategy to legitimize and 'sell' restorative justice as a present option to existing criminal justice; and such 'history-making' presents restorative justice as 'natural' and unproblematic, as almost a panacea for wrongdoing and conflict.