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Restoring Justice: Campaigns Against Miscarriages of Justice and the Restorative Justice Process

Savage, Stephen P.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) European Journal of Criminology. 4(2):195-216.

This study empirically examined the motivations behind justice campaigns in the United Kingdom and the goals sought by justice campaigners. The analysis revealed that although justice campaigns primarily employ restorative justice principles, the process is one-sided because the offender in these cases is the State and State institutions, which are reluctant to accept guilt or acknowledge failure. The analysis illustrates how justice campaigns resemble restorative justice practices, such as in their use of rhetoric concerning victim participation in the justice process and in the seeking of a dialog with the offender (the State). However, the restorative model necessitates a relational dynamic between the offender (the State) and the victim. In cases of miscarriages of justice, meetings are rare between the State and the victim and the State rarely admits wrong-doing or seeks to make reparation. The author also points out however, that justice campaigns may be the only means through which the State can be forced to accept or act upon its failure, either through legal or extralegal strategies. Participants were 37 individuals who were associated with justice campaigns. Face-to-face interviews gathered information from the victims of miscarriages of justice, their families, campaigning organizations, lawyers and journalists, and an academic specialist. The interviews focused on the critical failure points responsible for miscarriages of justice and the critical factors leading to successful campaigns against miscarriages of justice. Interviews were analyzed for emerging themes. (abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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