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Research and Policy Making in Western-Australia – Hijacking of Community-Based RJ Projects by the Bureaucracy

Steels, Brian
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.

The researchers completed two major restorative justice research projects in the Perth metropolitan area and in a remote Indigenous community. Both projects had socially significant results in terms of community involvement, victim satisfaction and heightened levels of responsibility taking by offenders. However the bureaucratic paradigm hijacked both projects thus negating the underpinning ethos of restorative justice. In the first project the bureaucracy tried to replicate the methodology however was unsuccessful in terms of victim participation and the other project was directed in a ‘top down’ manner by the government based funding body, effectively diminishing local Indigenous involvement. With these experiences in mind, the researchers pose the question: ‘Where to now for restorative justice in a bureaucratised world where the language of RJ is misappropriated and RJ is in danger of becoming a net widening tool within criminal justice systems?’ (excerpt)


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