Source: (2006) In, Barry Goldson and John Muncie, eds, Youth Crima and Justice. London: Sage Publications. PP. 110-124.

Despite the enthusiasm with which restorative justice has been embraced by many, and despite the increasingly widespread introduction of restorative approaches into youth justice systems in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, there remains a lack of clarity and some strong debate about the exact definition and nature of restorative justice. There are issues concerning the processes of restorative justice, who it is intended to serve, what makes the process restorative, and how they are supposed to work. Even though there is evidence that some restorative approaches are being applied in practice effectively and there is support by agencies and practitioners for restorative practices, the extent to which these approaches are truly restorative or properly take into account the child is questioned. Restorative justice has been described as a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offense come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offense and its implications. Despite the proliferation of restorative justice measures in recent years, there remains relatively little evaluative research in the United Kingdom and many more questions than answers to be found. In this chapter, the authors examine the meaning of restorative justice and the application of restorative approaches within youth justice practice in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,