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Emergence of Restorative Justice in Sri Lanka: A Review Essay

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 37 Issue: 3 Dated: 2013 Pages: 233-247
M.A.D.S.J.S. Niriella
Date Published
15 pages
This article evaluates Sri Lanka's transformation from retributive justice to restorative justice.
Within the framework of retributive justice, crime is understood as an offence against the State and is defined as a violation of law. It represents the punitive approach of reaction to crime, where the offenders are considered as an unwanted group who should be punished. However, with the development of criminology, offenders are identified as the persons needing rehabilitation and reintegration into the society as law abiding citizens. This novel thinking has paved the way to the establishment of the concept of restorative justice where crime is understood to be an infringement on man and human relationship. It involves reintegration of both the offender and victim within the community. The restorative justice principle could be found in community service orders, probation, parole, and other noncustodial measures as alternatives to the traditional incarceration, victim offender mediation, sentencing, peacemaking and healing circles, police cautions, and active participation of victims in the criminal justice process, and so on. This article evaluates Sri Lanka's transformation from retributive justice to restorative justice by incorporating the above-mentioned means and methods to the criminal justice system. Further, it examines how these innovations have affected the crime rate in Sri Lanka. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.