Source: (2003) Police Practice and Research: An International Journal. 4(4): 391-398.
Restorative justice is a paradigm that has been embraced by some as a way of viewing crime and the criminal justice system. Frustration with the current system, combined with the tendency to treat youth involved in conflict differently form adults has led to the development of youth justice programs based on restorative principles in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe. The infancy of these programs and the problems with traditional evaluative measures have resulted in very few writings about particular programs and how they work with the current, formal criminal justice system. ‘Circles’ Community Youth Justice Program has been receiving referrals from the police of youth involved in conflict with the law since 1999. This program is based around a conferencing model and operates with strong underlying restorative values. Its position as the only restorative justice program in a collection of three cities is examined with respect to its relationship with the local police who refer cases. A survey was constructed and distributed asking police their attitudes, perceptions and beliefs about youth, justice, restorative justice and this program. The results have rendered interesting results for discussion and recommendations for future relationship building. (author’s abstract).
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