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What is the Role of Professionals in Restorative Justice?

Erbe, Carsten
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Howard Zehr and Barb Toews, eds., Critical Issues in Restorative Justice. Monsey, New York and Cullompton, Devon, UK: Criminal Justice Press and Willan Publishing. Pp. 289-297.

Carsten Erbe begins his chapter with a rather bleak assumption that every movement eventually ‘sells out’ to the perspective that it once opposed. Put another way, every movement finally comes to a point where it no longer represents what it once claimed to be. Erbe fears that restorative justice, though still a young movement, is in danger of crossing this ‘irresistible threshold.’ Key to his assessment is his characterization of restorative justice as essentially a community-based movement in direct opposition to the large-scale, institutional, and professional way of dealing with conflict and wrongdoing. Erbe argues in this chapter that recent developments in the restorative justice movement manifest a sharp turning away from this core value, the principle that the community ‘owns’ the process, not professionals.


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