Source: (2004) Australian Journal of Political Science. 39(3):505-518.

This paper examines the emergence of restorative justice meetings—in which victims come face to face with offenders—and asks whether they provide an example of deliberative democracy in action. The article analyses some restorative justice initiatives from the United States and Australasia and finds that they exhibit inclusiveness, and create more scope for democratic control, but are less strong on the equality criterion. Accountability has also been identified as a weakness of restorative meetings but, drawing on deliberative democratic theory, the authors suggest a possible solution. In their ability to transform preferences of both victims and offenders, restorative meetings offer both a vivid example to deliberative democrats and a powerful challenge to justice systems that rely heavily on incarceration. Author's Abstract