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Restorative Justice Reader: Texts, Sources, Context

NCJ Number
Gerry Johnstone
Date Published
521 pages
This book is a compilation of carefully selected extracts from the most important and influential contributions to the restorative justice literature and its philosophy; an informative commentary also provides context and explanation as appropriate.
The extracts presented include writings by both well-known proponents of restorative justice and key critics of the restorative justice movement. The introduction provides an overview of restorative approaches to criminal justice. It notes that according to proponents of restorative justice, the dispensing of justice and the control of crime should not involve punitive interventions that are of questionable effectiveness and morality. Rather, interventions should have restorative effects on the victim, the offender, and the community. This is most likely to occur, according to advocates of restorative justice, when offenders and victims are treated according to their needs, and offenders are held accountable by structuring and facilitating the development of positive attitudes and behaviors. The first part of this five-part book presents overviews of and early inspirations for restorative justice. The selections focus on how the concept of restorative justice originated; the sorts of practices with which it is associated; and the theories and discourses that have attempted to explain, inspire, and direct its development. The second part of the book includes selections on the background legacies and frameworks for restorative justice. These include selections on ancient traditions that have informed and influenced the concepts of restorative justice, notably Navajo practices of equality and justice; the Maori (New Zealand Indigenous people) restorative tradition; and the Christian traditions of forgiveness, repentance, redemption, and reconciliation. The third part of the book contains selections that pertain to variations, development, and rationales of restorative justice practice. Attention is given to alternative forms of conflict resolution, family conferencing, and other models of restorative conferencing. Selections from the fourth part of the book focus on the implementation of restorative justice in modern society. Attention is given to restorative justice for juveniles, the creation of restorative systems, the function of forgiveness in the criminal justice system, justice for victims of young offenders, community justice, relational justice, community involvement in the administration of justice, and the effectiveness of restorative justice. The concluding section of the book presents some of the key criticisms of restorative justice concepts and practices. Although the criticisms do not reject the concepts of restorative justice as useless, they argue that there are considerable limitations and dangers in certain versions and practices proposed and practiced under the rubric of restorative justice. Appendices contain the declaration of Leuven on the advisability of promoting the restorative approach to juvenile crime, a statement of restorative justice principles, and basic principles on the use of restorative justice programs in criminal matters. Name and subject indexes