Source: (2003) In, Elmar Weitekamp and Hans-Jurgen Kerner, eds. Restorative Justice in Context: International Practice and Directions.Devon, UK and Portland Oregon: Willan Publishing. Pp. 1-22.
Restorative justice first gained popularity due to a general feeling that traditional, retributive systems of justice were failing victims, offenders, and the community. Since its introduction in the 1970’s, there has been a growing debate concerning the role of restorative justice in addressing, deterring, and responding to young offenders. It is frequently only first-time offenders, or those that commit minor offenses, that are considered good candidates for most restorative justice interventions. There are a wide range of serious offenses and types of offenders for which restorative justice programs are not an option. It is unlikely for restorative justice to completely replace traditional retributive youth-justice systems in cases of serious and violent young offenders. Restorative justice aims to bring together the victim and the offender for the purposes of allowing both sides to understand the context of the offense, the impact on both parties, and to establish some form of agreed-upon reparation to the victim by the offender. Research that investigates the success of offender-victim mediation with serious or violent offenders suffers from two basic limitations. First, these studies have very small sample sizes. Second, the mediations are always held after the offender has served a significant period of time incarcerated. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.
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