Source: (2013) Restorative Justice 1(2):159-167.

This editorial is written on the occasion of the ‘official’ launch of Restorative Justice: An International Journal at the annual conference of the European Society of Criminology, held in Budapest in September 2013. While there is no clear-cut definition of criminology, for the sake of this editorial it may help to look at the topics presented in Budapest this year under the label ‘criminology’. The conference programme covers a wide range of issues, from the individual characteristics of those who have committed crimes or have become victims, through gender violence and disciplinary problems in schools, diverse violations of human rights and international crimes (such as genocide), and international criminal networks, to sentencing procedures, prevention of drug use, the impact of urban development on crime, capitalist globalisation and punitive populism and, indeed, the potential of restorative justice. Almost all scientific, social and normative disciplines are involved, and it is often difficult to indicate precisely the disciplines or specialisations that are implicated. Criminology is gradually developing its own theoretical and methodological approaches. The Budapest conference programme witnesses the wide scope of criminology as a field of scientific research and scientifically guided practice. What is common in the contributions is that they all deal with matters that are directly or indirectly related to the concept of crime and/or criminal justice. Against this background, we think that the emergence of restorative justice in recent decades is beneficial for criminology as a whole. We see at least four reasons for this, which we would like to discuss briefly in this editorial: credibility of the criminal justice system, normalisation of criminal behaviour, normative choices to be made, and the setup of a laboratory for research. (excerpt)