Review: Regulating restorative justice: A comparative study of legislative provision in European countries
Many European countries have taken at least some steps towards incorporating restorative justice in their system, and this book assess how far some of them have gone in formalizing their progress in legislation. The countries represented are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and two neighbours, Israel and Turkey.
Each chapter, after two introductory ones, follows a template giving a legal description and evaluation of restorative processes, and the political and legal understanding of victim-offender mediation and restorative justice. The list of nearly 40 subdivisions, combined with the analysis in the concluding chapter, are in themselves a useful outline of factors that need to be considered by anyone planning to introduce restorative justice or indeed to improve on measures already introduced. There is something to learn from most countries about how to introduce RJ, or in some cases how not to.
Restorative Justice in the Greater Manchester Police
....The first of the five aims, to reduce crime, is an area where GMP has had significant success in recent years. A key part of the crime reduction strategy is to “make more use of Restorative Justice to give victims the opportunity to challenge offenders and make them understand the consequences of their behaviour”. In a criminal Justice context, victims are given the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers and to get an apology. This helps offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done and holds them to account for it while also helping victims to get on with their lives.
To some extent, RJ runs counter to the culture that developed within police forces in response to central government targets because it can adversely affect the statistics traditionally used to assess police performance. Performance was measured against targets such as the numbers of sanctioned detections (where an offender is charged, cautioned, reported for summons, reprimanded, the offence is taken into consideration or where a fixed penalty notice is issued), the numbers of stop and search events and numbers of arrests. The last of these central government policing targets was removed in 2010.
Parole and restorative justice
The Restorative Justice Act, now being debated in the House of Representatives, introduces new concepts and challenges into our society, including the introduction of the parole system. In order to effectively implement the restorative justice measures, the input of everybody in society is crucial.
The discussion on the introduction of restorative justice measures in our system was first made following the publication of a White Paper by the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs in February 2009.
The basic principles of restorative justice are that when a crime is committed there are primarily three parties that are directly affected: the victim, the offender and society at large. The commission of a crime affects society at large – through fear, uncertainty and apprehension. Such apprehension may be appeased when the offender is caught and convicted. Yet, how many stop and think that, unless one is imprisoned for life, the offender will one day return to society?