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UN Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes

February 25, 2022

This excerpt from the preface of this handbook describes its purpose and content:

Restorative justice is a flexible, participatory and problem-solving response to criminal behavior, which can provide a complementary or an alternative path to justice. It can improve access to justice, particularly for victims of crime and vulnerable and marginalized populations, including in transitional justice contexts. Restorative justice has a great potential to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

As part of the Criminal Justice Handbook Series, a series of practical tools developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to support countries in the implementation of the rule of law and criminal justice reform, this handbook aims to provide an overview of the concept, values and principles of restorative justice as well as practical guidance on restorative justice programs and processes.

The handbook is designed to be used by all actors in the criminal justice system – including policymakers, legislators, criminal justice professionals, community groups, restorative justice practitioners, members of civil society and other individuals, and entities active in the field of criminal justice reform – in a variety of contexts, both as a reference document and a training tool. It has also been designed to be used in conjunction with the Training Curriculum on Restorative Justice, a tool developed by UNODC to provide guidance on strengthening the capacity to deliver restorative justice services.

The main objective of this handbook is to provide, in a clear and concise fashion, an overview of the merits of restorative justice programs and of good practices in their design and implementation. The handbook covers a wide range of issues concerning restorative justice programs: applicable standards; various types of programs; program design and implementation issues; the dynamics of restorative justice interventions; program development and operation and the mobilization of community assets; as well as program monitoring and evaluation. The emphasis is on presenting information and examples that will be useful in the development of new programs in a variety of social, cultural and legal contexts.




United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


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