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What harm, whose justice?: excavating the restorative movement

Johnstone, Gerry
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) Contemporary Justice Review. 16(4):445-460.

The city of Hull in the northeast of England gave itself the ambitious task of becoming the world’s first restorative city. The aim of this strategy was to create a more socially and emotionally confident youth population which in turn would encourage a more entrepreneurial and aspirational outlook across the City. Based on a two-year National Lottery-funded project exploring peoples’ experiences of restorative approaches and a Knowledge Transfer Project to help develop restorative skills, the development of restorative justice is analysed. How does a restorative classroom, workplace, or family really behave? Is there a common objective within, and across, all restorative initiatives and if so, what is it? The answer to these questions is that communication breakdown can be understood as the common harm within, and across the restorative movement. This raises some interesting questions and challenges for zemiology where both restorative justice and social harm perspectives contain quite different notions of harm suggesting that neither has yet developed a clear or solid foundation upon which to build an alternative focus to criminal harms. (author’s abstract)


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