Source: (2005) Paper presented at the “Safety, crime and justice: from data to policyâ€? conference, organised by the Australian Institute of Criminology in conjunction with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABS House, Canberra, Australia, 6-7 June. Downloaded 14 September 2005.

Punishment of environmental "crimes" differs from other prosecuted offenses, because the harm done is often irreparable, and because there is often no victim, in the ordinary sense of criminal justice. Consequently, statutory enforcement mechanisms must be flexible, proactive, and arguably more preventive than punitive. Relatively new "green" sentencing options in Australia, for example, include restoration or enhancement of the environment in public places, as well as other creative punishments, including environmental audits of company activities, publication of the offense, and a requirement for notification in company annual reports. In this study, we examine the applicability of a restorative justice approach to environmental offenses under New Zealand's Resource Management Act 1991. The benefits of “restorative justiceâ€? and “diversionâ€? schemes are discussed, as these have been applied by one New Zealand district council. It suggests that a restorative justice approach may offer useful, additional discretion to local authorities when prioritising the resource-intense effort required to successfully prosecute environmental offenses as the means for re-dressing the damage to the environment. (Author's Abstract).

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