Source: (2001) In Victim policies and criminal justice on the road to restorative justice: Essays in honour of Tony Peters, ed. E. Fattah and S. Parmentier, 295-314. With an introduction by E. Fattah and S. Parmentier. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

In the last decade, the topic of restorative justice has received considerable attention in most Western European countries. Many see great potential in restorative justice, as well as in its core elements, such as mediation and restitution. Nevertheless, according to Hans-Jorg Albrecht, the question of how big this potential actually is has to be seriously and critically explored. In this regard, he examines the following topics: reasons for the attractiveness of restorative justice; the status of restorative justice as theory; the nature of “conflictâ€? and various meanings attached to conflict; and issues related to various policy strategies and alternatives to restorative justice. In general, Albrecht acknowledges the value of restorative justice in specific areas of crime or particular cases. Additionally, restorative justice appeals insofar as it fits with certain trends in criminal justice, such as simplification and streamlining of criminal procedure, compensation to victims and reparation of the loss of trust created by crime, and reduction of stigma and other negative effects of labeling. Overall, however, he does not see an empirically proven need for a systemic and comprehensive alternative to criminal law and punishment.