Source: (2003) Acta Criminologica. 16(5): 10-22. Criminological Society of South Africa. Downloaded 6 May 2004.

The prevailing justice paradigm, which is one of retribution, is based on punishment or the threat of punishment as a means of controlling behaviour. This paradigm is regarded as insufficient as a paradigm for justice and is incomplete if it ignores the social context in which crime occurs. Furthermore, restorative mediation should be seen as an additional justice option and not as an alternative for criminal justice. Restorative mediation can be applied in a variety of contexts, at both the formal and informal level. At the formal level the criminal justice system can apply restorative mediation at the pretrial process, at the presentencing process, as part of a condition for sentence or in pre-release programmes. At the informal level, restorative mediation can be used to solve corporate conflicts and disputes and to solve a variety of community conflicts (eg bullying in schools, neighbourhood conflicts, family conflicts and interstate conflicts). Restorative mediation programmes are variously called : victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, sentencing circles, victim offender panels, diversionary mediation and restorative mediation. We recommend that South Africa follows the Dutch example - that is, that South Africa uses the term "restorative mediation" for all types of victim-offender conferencing. Restorative justice mediation is implemented differently in different countries and regions and reflects the dominant cultural norms and mores. It is a flexible, transportable paradigm which varies from country to country and from site to site, depending on local needs and customs. In most countries restorative mediation is normally an adjusted model of traditional forms of restorative justice that have been adapted to suit a specific community through victim-offender mediation, family group conferences and circle sentencing. (Abstract courtesy of Acta Criminologica)