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Is Restorative Justice Tied to Specific Models of Practice?

Warner Roberts, Annie
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Howard Zehr and Barb Toews, eds., Critical Issues in Restorative Justice. Monsey, New York and Cullompton, Devon, UK: Criminal Justice Press and Willan Publishing. Pp. 241-251.

The restorative justice movement has expanded significantly since its informal beginnings in victim-offender reconciliation programs in Canada in the 1970s. As Ann Warner Roberts observes, this growth has led to increasing and almost bewildering numbers and varieties of techniques, models, practices, frameworks, and theories. While it arose in and was targeted toward the sphere of criminal justice, many have sought to expand it beyond criminal justice into justice for families, schools, neighborhoods, communities, and even countries. Roberts acknowledges that this growth in restorative justice is positive. Nevertheless, she also perceives a cost to the proliferation of ideas and practices – namely, restorative justice has become extremely amorphous. She fears that the core of restorative justice – “restorative dialogueâ€? between victims and offenders, with its underlying principles and values – is at risk of being marginalized. Hence, she sketches this one specific model of practice with which restorative justice began, traces the proliferation of ideas and models, and reemphasizes the centrality of restorative dialogue (with some variations) for restorative justice.


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