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Justice in Transition: Community Restorative Justice in Ireland

Eriksson, Anna
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Portland: Willan Publishing.

Eriksson’s work is a comprehensive review of how community-based restorative justice operates and what it has achieved in Northern Ireland. She begins with a general introduction to the history, values, achievements, and critiques of restorative justice, and then she explores how it works in communities, especially transitional communities. Northern Ireland is just such a transitional society, characterized by several forms of informal social control. One of them, restorative justice, developed as an alternative to more violent forms like policing by paramilitary organizations. It took a long time to socialize communities into accepting and understanding what restorative justice aimed to do. Eriksson explains how restorative justice functions in communities in Northern Ireland and walks the readers through several individual cases. She continues with an exploration of how the leaders in the restorative justice movement are drawn from the surrounding community and what impact that has on the cultural setting. Expanding the scope beyond the local community, Eriksson argues that restorative justice efforts are facilitating large-scale changes in the national sphere. Ultimately in her view, the example of Northern Ireland demonstrates that restorative justice should be more boldly implemented in other transitional societies.


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