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Evaluation and Restorative Justice Principles.

Zehr, Howard
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) In Elizabeth Elliott and Robert M. Gordon, eds., New Directions in Restorative Justice: Issues, Practice, Evaluation. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 296-303.

Some of the general issues and concerns being raised about restorative justice include whether the conference has become too central in restorative justice practice and whether the conference is a sufficient mechanism for identifying and addressing the array of causes and consequences of a criminal event, particularly those rooted in the structure and conditions of a community. Another concern is whether restorative justice practice is as focused on the victim as it claims, or has the offender remained central in the implementation of restorative justice plans. Another consideration pertains to previous victimizations of the offender that may underlie his/her criminal/antisocial behavior. How does restorative justice deal with these victimizations? Also of concern is the possibility that restorative justice is misinterpreting and misusing the offender’s experience of shame. Instead of trying to shame people, the focus should be on removing and transforming shame. Four critical issues in the evolution of restorative justice are the need for evaluation that assesses the practical effects of restorative justice activities compared to its lofty objectives; the structuring of accountability for programs and staff who design and implement restorative justice principles and programs; the encouragement of dialog among the various sectors involved in restorative justice; and making sure that the principles, values, and philosophies of restorative justice are the measure of every decision, plan, and program that purports to advance restorative justice. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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