Amongst prosecutors, at least in France, there is a divergence of
opinion about alternative procedures generally. Some see them as a means
of extending formal social control where social controls have failed;
some welcome them as a means of re-engaging the community by dealing
with social conflict, especially relatively minor conflicts; others see
them as tokenistic and ineffective unless they are properly resourced;
while another group sees them as symbolic and only to be used when
prosecution would never have been contemplated.
These views are probably reflective of prosecutors’ attitudes elsewhere in Europe. Nonetheless, it could be argued that the prospects for the development of restorative justice are greater in some Europe jurisdictions than some adversarial jurisdictions particularly where the penal culture is relatively nonmoralistic, where there are relatively low imprisonment rates (e.g. France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain) and where there is a willingness to use intermediate sanctions.