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Beyond The Journey, Not Much Else Matters: Avoiding the Expert Model with Explicit Restorative Practice

O'Connell, Terry
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Paper presented at “New Frontiers in Restorative Justice: Advancing Theory and Practice”, Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University at Albany, New Zealand, 2-5 December.

Restorative justice has become more widely known and accepted over the last couple of decades. In order to sustain this momentum, the critical question we must ask is, what constitutes good restorative practice? This paper explores this question by challenging most of the existing restorative practice for its narrow focus and lack of rigor. It will argue that this practice is ‘ends focused’ and that the idea of embracing practice that works, without clearly understanding why it works, limits that practice’s real potential.

The authors propose a framework for viewing restorative justice practice that focuses, not on discrete processes or programs, but rather on a broad set of generic restorative propositions underpinned by theories that explain why this practice works. The framework links practice, theories and values in an explicit way, making it accessible to and easily understood by everyone. A case study in a school setting demonstrates how this explicit practice is capable of fostering and building healthy relationships. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,


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