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Justice in Transition: Community Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland

NCJ Number
Anna Eriksson
Date Published
256 pages
This book describes and analyses the community-based restorative justice projects that have emerged in the Republican and Loyalist communities of Northern Ireland since the conflict ended, with attention to implications for restorative justice internationally and lessons for partnerships between police and communities in high-crime, alienated neighborhoods.
The first two chapters of this book provide theoretical background for some of the key issues in restorative justice practices, placing restorative and transitional justice within the broader criminological literature. Chapter 1 examines some of the main debates within the literature regarding the appropriate application of restorative justice principles, the values and processes that should be at the core of its practice, the types of cases that should qualify for restorative justice programs, and the ideal interaction between the formal criminal justice system and the more informal processes of restorative justice. Chapter 2 explores applications of restorative justice in the transitional context of its institutionalization. Chapter 3 identifies and discusses the various modes of informal social control adopted within Republican and Loyalist communities of Northern Ireland, including paramilitary systems of "policing," vigilantism, and restorative justice. The discussion is set within the social context of traditional working-class areas of Northern Ireland. The next three chapters discuss various aspects of the practice of community restorative justice in Northern Ireland, including the establishment of the projects, operational issues, the potential for transforming cultures of violence, and the role of volunteers and ex-political prisoners in the transitional phase of restorative justice. The remaining two chapters examine the merging of informal and formal social control within the current transitional context of Northern Ireland. The book argues for examining the extent to which the restorative justice framework can be used for serious incidents of violence and criminality, rather than its traditional focus on juvenile crime and minor crimes. 353 references, a subject index, and appended discussion of Northern Ireland's paramilitary groups and a timeline for key events and relevant government documents