Source: (2000) In Restorative justice: Philosophy to practice, ed. Heather Strang and John Braithwaite, 1-9. Burlington, Vermont, U.S.: Ashgate Publishing Company.

In this chapter Mason responds to the question whether restorative justice systems are to be controlled by the state or by institutions of civil society. Related to this question is the question whether restorative justice perspectives and processes should transform and replace a state’s entire criminal justice system, or whether they should merely constitute alternative or optional components within the existing criminal justice system. If restorative justice constitutes basically an addition to criminal justice, then questions arise about equity – for example, equality of treatment, and fairness in discretionary decisions to send defendants down restorative or traditional justice routes. Mason reviews two cases – one from New Zealand and one from Canada – that illustrate some of these important issues and questions.