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Restoring Justice Through Community Policing: The Northern Ireland Case.

Martin, Margaret E
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Criminal Justice Policy Review. 17(3):314-329.

After describing the theory, practice, and values of restorative justice, this article examines them in relation to community policing ideology and practice under the police reforms in Northern Ireland. Central to the ideals of restorative justice are the accountability of offenders in consultation with their victims in order to repair the harms done to the victims and to the community, followed by correction of offender behaviors in order to prevent future harms. In a jurisdiction where conflict among residents and between residents and police has been intense, these restorative justice principles are relevant. Police and citizens must consult with one another in efforts to remedy harms, and reform behaviors so as to change the quality of future interactions. Community policing has been promoted as reflective of the democratic principles of accountability, transparency, and sensitivity to the security needs of all community residents. In examining the links between community policing and restorative justice, this article discusses the expressed goals or ideology of each paradigm, the values promoted, and the practices and processes used. By conducting this discussion in the context of Northern Ireland’s police reforms, which have incorporated the values of community policing, this article shows how community policing can heal previous conflicts through the application of restorative justice principles, i.e., attention to addressing the harms suffered by all citizens while listening to the community’s complaints about where the police have failed to address various public safety needs, followed by the formulation of new behaviors in cooperative actions between police and the community to ensure public safety. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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