Source: (2003) In Eugene McLaughlin, Ross Fergusson, Gordon Hughes and Louise Westmarland, eds., Restorative Justice: Critical Issues. London: Sage Publications in association with The Open University. Pp. 164-181.

“Is restorative justice the way forward for criminal justice?â€? asks Andrew Ashworth in this essay. It is a large question, not least because restorative justice theories, aims, and practices come in a very wide variety of shapes and “flavors.â€? With so many variations, and with grand claims made by some for its social potential, Ashworth cautions that expectations may be too high and measures too broad and subjective. With all of this in mind, he then examines forms of restorative justice initiatives, examples of restorative justice in England and Wales, constitutional objectives to restorative justice, rights-based objections to restorative justice, and questions about the effectiveness of restorative justice. In sum, he concludes that restorative justice has promising elements, and may well contribute to reform of criminal justice, but only if done so without exaggerated claims, with respect for rights, and within the bounds of proportionality.