Source: (2004) Journal of Social Philosophy. 35(1): 91–107.

In the words of Albert Dzur and Susan Olson, restorative justice is a normative theory and reform movement oriented around bringing dialogue and reconciliation among victim, offender, and community to the center of criminal justice. Despite its success after a number of years of exploration, experimentation, and implementation, restorative justice is an amalgam of empirical expectations and normative ideals yet to be fully realized. Dzur and Olson point to community participation in restorative justice dialogue as one such ideal. For them, the prospect of community participation in restorative justice is intriguing because it corresponds closely with idealized accounts of public deliberation in deliberative democratic theory. With all of this in mind, Dzur and Olson argue that restorative justice explanations of the value of community dialogue in restorative justice practices are marked by a tension between 'progressive' and 'traditionalist' interpretations.