Source: (2003) Developments in Mental Health Law. 22(2):1-15.

An unresolved question is whether restorative justice programs are successful for only a small, select number of offenders or whether they are effective for a wide range of offenders. This article addresses one group of criminal defendants, namely, individuals with a mental disorder, for whom a restorative justice approach at first glance might seem inappropriate. However, this article concludes that this approach should encompass such offenders when their disorder is relatively stable and when they possess sufficient interpersonal skills to engage in a meaningful dialogue with their victims. The restorative justice approach promotes the psychological well-being of such offenders and their victims without undermining the social and legal goals of deterrence and retribution. In addition, this article discusses how restorative justice complements the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence and mental health courts, two related innovative approaches that recognize the need for distinct treatment for this population of offenders. (excerpt)