Source: (2013) Restorative Justice: An International Journal. 1(3):362-388.

This paper reflects on a small-scale evaluation of the introduction of restorative approaches within an English secure child care centre. It draws on interviews with young people and staff, a staff questionnaire survey and an analysis of statistics provided by the centre. This research supports previous findings which show that restorative approaches can be a more progressive, and potentially transformative, means of dealing with conflicts and tensions within residential settings than more traditional behaviour management systems. There are considerable benefits for both staff and young people, including a more positive working/living environment, and improvements in individual relationships. However, while there is a vocal minority of staff who believe that restorative justice is a 'soft option' and that children may be 'professional apologists', questions remain as to whether restorative approaches are merely a tool within a toolkit of behaviour management approaches or whether a more fundamental change in the ethos of secure establishments can be achieved. (author's abstract)