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Dangers and opportunities of setting standards for RJ practices.

McCold, Paul
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Papers presented at the Third Conference of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, ‘Restorative Justice in Europe: Where are we heading?’, Budapest, Hungary, 14-16 October. Downloaded 22 September 2005.

The nature of standards and guidelines will be shaped by the different understanding and definition of
restorative justice in each country. The specific standards and practices established will likely affect what
programs get government funding and which ones do not.
The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) is dedicated to the development of restorative
justice around the world. Standards of practice present both dangers and opportunities for the IIRP mission
and the restorative justice movement more broadly. The opportunity is that good restorative practices could
receive official governmental recognition and support and the pseudo-restorative programs could be defined
out or at least be seen as not the focus. The dangers are that standards will be defined narrowly with bias
toward a particular model (e.g., mediation or FGDM) or be so broadly defined that everything counts as
restorative justice (e.g., community panels, youth offending teams, community service sentencing).
Rather than establish a position on every point raised in the different proposals, IIRP is establishing a set of
value preferences stated as general principles to serve as a guideline for evaluating proposed standards of best
practice in restorative justice. (excerpt)


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