Source: (2000) Paper presented at the Fourth International Conference of the International Network for Research on Restorative Justice for Juveniles. Tübingen, Germany, 1-4 October.

The authors point out that restorative justice, now more than twenty years old as a movement, has both advocates and detractors. They examine certain arguments against restorative justice to judge their validity. One set of arguments they consider, from an English context, come from victim-oriented concerns for victim’s rights and needs. Another set of arguments, from an American context, come from offender-oriented concerns for due process and just deserts. Examples of critiques of restorative justice from a victim-based perspective include the following concerns. Are the rights, interests, and feelings of victims sufficiently reckoned and respected by restorative justice principles and practices? Are victims coerced and burdened – that is, further “victimized�? – by objectives and processes of restorative justice (such as victim/offender mediation)? Examples of critiques of restorative justice from an offender-based perspective include the following concerns. Do restorative justice practices lead to unfair variations (inconsistencies) in the treatment of offenders? Are restorative justice processes (especially victim/offender mediation) really schemes serving middle and upper class interests against minority and lower class offenders? Also, do restorative processes (again, the emphasis is on victim/offender mediation) treat victims with great respect while offenders are treated as problems to be managed, shamed, and conditioned?