Source: (2011) Contemporary Justice Review. 14(4):439-456.

Commentators have frequently claimed that restorative justice (RJ) programs hold the potential to deliver therapeutic outcomes. However, if we are serious about integrating a therapeutic agenda into criminal justice, our current understanding of the mechanics of RJ is incomplete. Having established a case for doing justice better, proponents of RJ now need to think in much more concrete terms about the ways in which the process is designed in order to reap a tangible sense of forgiveness, reconciliation, and closure for victims of crime. From the evidence to date, it is suggested that there are four ‘keys’ which may be used to unlock the therapeutic potential of RJ. These are: (1) personal narratives; (2) apology; (3) forgiveness; and (4) procedural justice within restorative programs. A major challenge for future research in the area is to attempt to measure how these aspects of RJ operate at a micro-level to transform emotions.(author's abstract)