Source: (2006) In Michael W. Dowdle, Ed., Public Accountability, Designs, Dilemmas and Experiences. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 33-51.
“Most analysis of democratic accountability is directed at the executive and legislative branches of governance. This essay explores a different path of enriching direct democracy and accountability. This is ‘restorative justice.’ Restorative justice as an accountability innovation has developed mostly as an experiment in re-democratizing criminal law. While this essay focuses on the criminal justice system as a core arena of research and development of restorative justice innovation, we must understand that restorative justice is a wider strategy of confronting injustice in any arena where injustice occurs. Injustice in the way states fight wars can be confronted by restorative justice strategies such as truth and reconciliation commissions. Injustice in the way children are treated in schools can be confronted by restorative anti-bullying programs. Injustice in the way large private bureaucracies treat us as employees or consumers can be confronted in restorative justice circles or conferences. Unjust treatment by public bureaucracies, such as tax offices, is equally a site of restorative justice research and development.” (excerpt)
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