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Mediation in Penal Matters: Strengthening the Public Aspect

Van Stokkom, Bas
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Report of the fifth conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, Building restorative justice in Europe: cooperation between the public, policy makers, practitioners and researchers, Verona.

Restorative approaches seem to underestimate the public dimensions of much crime, and are arguably more individualistic than traditional approaches to crime. Crime is understood primarily as a matter between the offender and the victim, rather than an offence against society as a whole. Restorative justice reflects a pronounced anti-statist ethos and tends to privatise the response to crime: only the perspectives of the immediately interested parties are deemed relevant. The procedure should leave decisions primarily to the stakeholders; individual offenders and their victims “own” their case. What matters is not how culpable the offender is, but the particulars concerning how much the victim has been hurt.
To enlarge the societal status of restorative justice, instruct the public and incorporate principles of law, it might be worthwhile to strengthen the public aspects of mediation procedures, and extend the scope of public aspects in mediation in penal matters. I will not plea for pr-strategies, but give some hints how to rearrange mediation, in such a way that the broader public can take notice of the fruits of (discussing) reparation. (excerpt)


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