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Restorative justice and crime reduction: Are policy-makers barking up the wrong tree?

Dignan, Jim
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Victim policies and criminal justice on the road to restorative justice: Essays in honour of Tony Peters, ed. E. Fattah and S. Parmentier, 329-351. With an introduction by E. Fattah and S. Parmentier. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press

Jim Dignan observes that one of the principal reasons for the expansion of restorative justice ideas and programs in the last two decades is the perception among criminal justice policymakers that restorative justice will lead to reduction in crime by lowering recidivism. This focus is misdirected, argues Dignan. However effective restorative justice interventions with individuals may be, the scope for achieving significant reductions in crime overall is limited due to various operational constraints. Dignan is not arguing against restorative justice reforms of the criminal justice system. Rather, the potential for reduction in crime is more likely to be achieved if much broader social crime prevention strategies, informed by restorative justice, are developed and applied. To advance these arguments, Dignan surveys the restorative justice movement in England and Wales.


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