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New Zealand Police and Restorative Justice Philosophy

Winfree Jr, L. Thomas
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Crime and Delinquency. 50(2): 189- 213.

Restorative justice principles are very old and offer the means through which offenders can be accepted back into the community. The approach brings together the offender, the victim, and other community members to discuss the offense and deal with its aftermath. Programs based on restorative justice principles are found in current criminal justice systems around the world. In New Zealand, restorative justice principles are seen in the work of youth aid officers. These youth aid officers are sworn police officers who participate in community discussions of how to restore balance to the community in the aftermath of juvenile offender actions. The current study probed the attitudes of a representative sample of sworn police officers, including youth aid officers, toward the philosophical underpinnings of restorative justice and how restorative justice work and values affect police officers’ attitudes toward the workplace. Data were drawn from a 1996 management survey of the New Zealand policing organization which included various measures for restorative justice attitudes and workplace orientations. Results of statistical analyses indicated that youth aid officers differed little from other officers in their support for, and attitudes toward, restorative justice principles. However, youth aid officers, as opposed to other officers, reported lower perceived levels of support from administrative staff. Other findings revealed that self-reported job satisfaction was related to support for restorative justice-related values. Findings are discussed in terms of how restorative justice principles are employed in criminal justice systems, including barriers and challenges to its widespread use as a criminal justice practice. Limitations of the study include its reliance on secondary analysis of data.


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