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The Evolving Definition of Restorative Justice

Roche, Declan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Contemporary Justice Review 4(3, 4): 341-353

The rapid growth in criminal justice programs labeled as restorative justice is the starting point for this article. The often considerable differences between these programs invite consideration of the meaning of restorative justice. This article traces developments in the definition of restorative justice and argues that early definitions emphasizing the role of process have evolved into multidimensional definitions that consider more explicitly the role of values as well as process. An implication of this is that rather than simply asking whether a program is or is not restorative, we should be concerned to ask how restorative a program is and in what ways. Finally, while it might be argued that the inclusion of values improves upon earlier process-oriented definitions of restorative justice, caution should be exercised about continuing to add to the list of restorative values lest restorative justice begin to lose its meaning altogether.


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