Source: (2013) Probation Journal. 60(3):302-315.

Restorative justice is a comparative newcomer to the world of the probation service; however, there are new imperatives and drivers such as the recent paper ‘Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences’ (2012) which signal a changing mood and a willingness to investigate the possibilities of restorative justice. It also makes reference to resources made available. In other parts of the criminal justice system, particularly within the youth justice service, restorative justice has been around, ‘officially’ – by means of legislation – for 14 years, and unofficially (in innovative practice), for longer. The knowledge and skills associated with restorative justice have slowly but surely migrated to other services, such as education, with startling results. Significantly, numerous police forces have begun to adopt the use of restorative justice. The plenary session at the National Conference explored some personal insights and took some time to examine important underlying concepts and thinkers who have influenced restorative work. The session posed the question of whether we are on the cusp of significant change in our outlook toward the purpose of justice. This article will reflect that as well as exploring later some of the broader implications for the probation service in the immediate future. (author's abstract)