Source: (2006) Papers presented at the Fourth Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, “Restorative justice: An agenda for Europe”, Barcelona, Spain, 15-17 June 2006.

On the basis of findings resulting from an empirical study of one family group conferencing project in England this paper critically examines the implications of restorative justice operating under the auspices of the criminal justice system. It discusses four ways of dependence of restorative practice on the criminal justice system: funding, referrals, legal framework and the system-oriented practitioners. The paper argues that the reliance of restorative justice on the criminal justice system for funding is problematic because it puts pressures on the project workers to demonstrate that progress towards the goals prescribed by the criminal justice system is made. This leads to restorative justice being made to serve the agenda of the system and the restorative ideal being diverted from the original vision. (author's abstract)