Source: (2002) In Restorative Justice and its Relation to the Criminal Justice System: Papers from the second conference of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, Oostende, Belgium, 10-12 October. Pp. 69-77. Downloaded 23 February 2005.

As David Eyckmans, Dirk Dufraing, and Marianne Regelbrugge point out, to understand the topic they address in this presentation, it is important to recognize that Belgium is a federal state consisting of communities and regions. Determination of law and policy in Belgium is shared by the federal government and regional communities and their authorities. The Flemish region is one of those communities. In general, with respect to criminal justice the federal government has responsibility for major functions concerning sanctions and incarceration of offenders. The communities have responsibility more for aid and social services, including those to prisoners and their victims. Since 2000 the federal Minister of Justice has begun to incorporate aspects of restorative justice in prison policy. Against this background, the authors detail the way the Flemish community, in cooperation with federal justice authorities and other organizations, is trying to pursue a restorative initiative toward prisoners and their victims. The authors discuss in this regard the conceptual framework for and outcomes of victim-offender mediation in prison.