Source: (1998) Paper presented to seminar on “Victim/Offender Mediation in Adult Cases,â€? organized by the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Justice (Institute of Justice) of Poland, Popowo near Warsaw, 2-4 September 1998.

Dr. Wright observes that restorative justice is in certain respects a new concept, yet it has ancient roots that have persisted in various forms in certain societies (in Africa, New Zealand, and Canada, among others). Wright summarizes key principles of restorative justice: assisting the victim (to address the harm caused by crime); holding the offender accountable (particularly through acknowledgment of the offense and being subject to constructive or reparative sanctions); involving the community (for example as mediators and through reintegration of offenders); and seeking to prevent crime. He also notes two other key ideas that characterize restorative justice as against criminal justice: the process is an essential part of the response to crime; and reparation for the harm caused by a crime is critical in helping the victim and holding the offender accountable. With respect to process, Wright refers specifically to conferencing (similar to victim/offender mediation). With respect to reparation, Wright intends a broad concept that includes but is not limited to actual compensation to the victim. Reparation may include payment of money to compensate for the victim’s loss, but it may also be symbolic, such as work for the victim or for the community. Wright then comments on how restorative justice works, in particular with respect to mediation or conferencing. He discusses people and organizations that might be involved in mediation, safeguards for clients and practitioners of mediation, objectives of mediation, and standards of mediation.