Source: (2007) Paper given at a Workshop on Perspectives of Victim-Offender Mediation, Sofia, Bulgaria, December.

Restorative justice adds a new dimension to the conventional aims of justice: to restore the well-being of the person harmed. The offender is enabled (or required) to make amends and be reintegrated into the community. It also involves members of the community, and encourages exploration of the background to the offence, to help formulate preventive policies. Legislation affects restorative justice in four ways: existing legislation may allow it, new laws may enable it, laws may limit it, or restorative justice may be the norm. It may also include ‘responsive regulation’ of white-collar offences such as mismanagement of companies or care homes. Examples from different countries are given and specific questions about the relationship of restorative justice to the criminal justice system discussed. It is suggested that, broadly speaking, safeguards should be legislated and practice regulated by an independent body. An example of a code of good practice, and of a programme incorporating a preventive strategy, are given. It is concluded that restorative practices, beginning in schools, have the potential to transform society’s response to harmful behaviour. (author's abstract)

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