January 2004 Edition
Advances in the International Restorative Justice Movement. Over the last year, we have seen intersting developments in the implementation of restorative justice around the world. The stories below are in the order they appeared on this website since January 2003.
Recent Changes to Restorative Justice Online
Introducing Restorative Justice to the Police Complaints System: Close Encounters of the Rare Kind.
Researchers at the Centre for Criminological Research at the University of Oxford have recently completed some research into applying Restorative Justice to the Police Complaints system in a UK police force. Below is a brief description of the report.
Restorative Justice in Russia
De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester, England, has been commissioned to assist with the development of restorative justice practice in the Russian Federation by the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Working in partnership with The Center for Legal and Judicial Reform (CLJR), a Moscow based NGO, the project team will be developing a number of pilot sites for the establishment of effective practice in diverting young offenders from the criminal justice system. This article was written by Divender Curry of De Montfort University.
Developments From Colombia
In December of 2002, the Colombian National Congress made several changes to article 250 of the Constitution of 1991. This article addresses the obligations of the prosecutor in investigation and prosecution of criminal cases. One of those changes refers to the rights of victims in the mechansims of restorative justice.
Reconciliation After Violent Conflict
Post- conflict societies have taken one or more of three alternative approaches to justice in dealing with state sanctioned crimes: retributive justice, amnesty, and (recently) restorative justice. The problems with retributive justice are multiple, including political and legal challenges, difficulties in meeting burdens of proof, and so on. Amnesty is essentially an agreement to waive justice for past criminal conduct, and as a result, raises profound ethical, legal, and societal questions. Consequently, post-conflict societies have begun to turn to traditional dispute resolution processes reflecting restorative values and principles.
European Network for Restorative Justice
On April 8, 2003, the European Parliament endorsed a proposed European Network of National Contact Points for Restorative Justice. Originally proposed by the Kingdom of Belgium in July 2002, the network is intended to improve the flow of information about restorative justice throughout Europe.
Creating Guidelines for Restorative Justice Programmes.
In 2002, the United Nations Economic and Social Council endorsed Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters. In paragraph 12, the Basic Principles urge governments to create guidelines and standards for the use of restorative justice programmes. Two countries, Canada and New Zealand, have started this process.
Responding to Juvenile Crime in Thailand.
Families and victims to get their say and Families are to get rehab role are two headlines appearing in the Bangkok Post in June. The articles refer to an announcement by the Juvenile Observation and Protection Department of its plans to institute family group conferencing with juvenile offenders beginning July 1. The Department hopes to lower the number of juveniles held in detention centres through this programme.
Dr. Howard Zehr Presented the 2003 International Prize for Restorative Justice.
Dr. Howard Zehr has been awarded the 2003 International Prize for Restorative Justice by the PFI Centre for Justice and Reconciliation. The cash prize was presented in recognition of his significant contributions to the implementation of restorative justice worldwide.
Restorative Practice in Schools Receives a Boost in the UK.
The Youth Justice Board and the Government’s Children’s Fund in the UK are sponsoring new programs to address misbehaviour in schools. The funding is part of a greater emphasis on using restorative justice by the government. Projects will address bullying, truancy, crimes, and other destructive behaviours, in the expectation that use of restorative processes will reduce the number of students expelled from school each year.
Restorative Justice Theory and Practice: Mind the Gap!
Theo Gavrielides, a researcher at the London School of Economics, recently completed a qualitative investigation of possible discrepancies between the implementation of restorative justice practices and the development of restorative justice theory.