Source: (2004) Social Justice Research. 17(3):315-334.

Within the past decade, restorative justice has emerged as a truly global phenomenon. Although retributive justice has dominated the penal landscape, more recently, restorative principles at sentencing have attracted increased attention. Restorative sentencing emphasizes the importance of compensation and reconciliation between victims and offenders and pays less attention to establishing proportionality between the seriousness of the offense and the severity of the sentence imposed. Although voluminous (and proliferating), the scholarly literature on restorative justice has to date neglected one critical issue: public opinion with respect to this justice paradigm. Public opinion researchers too, have generally overlooked this topic. The goal of this paper is to determine which elements of the new paradigm generate public approval, and which features are likely to encounter or provoke public opposition, drawing upon related international research published in English over the past 20 years (1982–2002). The review reveals widespread support for “restorativeâ€? sentencing options, such as community service, compensation, and restitution, particularly when applied to young offenders. However, it also seems clear that public support for these alternatives to punitive sentencing options declines as the seriousness of the offence increases, suggesting strong public adherence to the retributive principle of proportionality in sentencing. Author's abstract.