Source: (2009) Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 90(4):399-406.
This article examines adaptations to the restorative justice framework that need to be made to work more effectively with the Asian-American population. Restorative justice programs have been implemented extensively throughout North America and Europe over the last several decades. These programs are aimed at dealing with crime and the resulting emotional issues, through nontraditional ways. A review of the literature reveals that restorative justice has received little attention in social work literature, and that despite social workers’ commitment to social justice, social workers have not been consistently and significantly involved in criminal justice matters. A problem frequently encountered by practitioners is the cross-cultural challenges that arise in the criminal justice, restorative justice context. This problem is especially pronounced in the Asian-American community. In Western cultures, conflict between individuals is frequently handled through legal means, with attorneys speaking for clients. In Asian cultures, however, conflict tends to be handled more by intermediaries consistent with Confucian values of achieving harmony in interpersonal and social relationships. The article looks at the development and current status of restorative justice approaches, and examines the cultural differences between East and West. A culturally competent restorative justice practice framework for the Asian-American community is presented and discussed. Implications for practice are also examined. (Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov).
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