Source: (1991) Bristol, PA: Open University Press.

This essay argues that the basic purpose of criminal justice should not be retributive (punishment and deterrence) but restorative: i.e., based on repairing, as far as possible, the harm caused by the crime. Criminal justice need not always employ coercion; procedures based on consent have advantages, such as giving victims the chance to express their feelings to offenders, and giving offenders the opportunity to make amends directly to the victim (and/or the community). Problems with traditional sentencing are reviewed, as are recent moves toward restorative justice: such as community service and compensation requirements, and victim-offender mediation programs. The possible shape of a practical system of restorative and participatory justice is outlined.