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Evaluating Restorative Justice Practices

Kurki, Leena
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In, Andrew von Hirsch, et. al., eds., Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice: Competing or Reconcilable Paradigms? Oxford and Portland, Orgeon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 293-314.

Leena Kurki remarks at the outset of this chapter that research shows that restorative justice practices are, by a number of important criteria, successful. Yet there is still little evidence that such practices yield long-term effects on offenders or communities. Rather, the focus of evaluation efforts has been on short-term satisfaction issues, and there are definite limits upon the scope, quality, and results of existing research. Moreover, it has been difficult to develop more innovative measures that would better capture the values and goals of restorative justice. It is therefore too early to promise that restorative justice initiatives reduce crime, prevent offending, or build better communities. Kurki attributes this situation more to inadequacies in implementation and evaluation research rather than to the non-feasibility of restorative justice principles and goals. Hence, in this chapter, with a focus on restorative justice practices that respond to crime and that include essential criteria for restorative justice, she surveys what is currently known about the outcomes of restorative justice practices; identifies new areas for research; introduces the concept of social capital in relation to restorative justice; and discusses community-level outcomes for restorative justice.


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