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Some principled objections to a restorative justice approach to working with juvenile offenders

Haines, Kevin
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) In Restorative justice for juveniles: Potentialities, risks and problems for research, ed. Lode Walgrave, 93-113. A selection of papers presented at the International Conference, Leuven, May 12-14, 1997. With a preface by Lode Walgrave. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

Haines acknowledges the growing interest in and support for restorative justice processes and measures to deal with juvenile crime. In response he raises certain principled objections to the adequacy of restorative justice, at least as currently conceived and practiced. The critical issues he raises include the following: ambiguity in the wide variety of conceptions of restorative justice put forth by its various advocates; ambiguity in the identification of a wide variety of practices as restorative; questions about the conditions under which many of those practices are conducted; ambiguity as to whether restorative justice should function within existing criminal justice systems (and if so, how), or whether they should function as a complete alternative to those systems; and questions about the effectiveness of restorative justice for victims or offenders. In the end, Haines doubts whether restorative justice, as currently conceived and implemented, truly provides a more positive response to juvenile offenders than existing ideas and practices.


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