Source: (2003) Paper presented at the XIII World Congress of Criminology, 10-15 August 2003, Rio de Janeiro. Downloaded 11 September 2003.Restorative justice is a new way of looking at criminal justice that focuses on repairing the harm done to people and relationships rather than on punishing offenders. Originating in the 1970s as mediation between victims and offenders, in the 1990s restorative justice broadened to include communities of care as well, with victimsâ and offendersâ families and friends participating in collaborative processes called âconferencesâ? and âcircles.â? This new focus on healing and the related empowerment of those affected by a crime seems to have great potential for enhancing social cohesion in our increasingly disconnected societies. Restorative justice and its emerging practices constitute a promising new area of study for social science.