Welcome: Members of Parliament, legislative staff, public policy analysts, lobbyists, advocacy organizations and others interested in restorative justice and public policy.
Restorative justice is much more than a programme or series of programmes. It is a philosophy of justice that can guide public policy in a number of ways.
The section addresses some of the public policy dimensions of restorative justice. These range from questions of whether there is a legal basis in your jurisdiction for using restorative processes and programmes to how the entire criminal justice system might be reoriented to reflect restorative principles and values.
A number of jurisdictions have adopted legislation concerning restorative justice. Intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations and Council of Europe have adopted recommendations, handbooks and other resources to guide their member states in effective use of restorative justice.
The links immediately below address issues that frequently arise concerning restorative justice and public policy.
There are a number of articles and other resources organized by topic at the bottom of the page that will also be of interest.
Check out these links . . . .
. . . . for a brief summary of research findings comparing restorative justice to other approaches . . . .
. . . . for true stories of victims and offenders who have used restorative justice . . . .
. . . . for where it is being used around the world . . . .
. . . . for a recent survey of legislation in the United States . . . .
For more in-depth information, take a look at the topics below for many articles and other resources. Also, check out some of the other tabs on the RJ Online home page. Learn how restorative justice is used by police, for example, what the media has written about the topic.
If you are unable to find what you are looking for, please contact us and we will do our best to help. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Defining Restorative Justice
- These articles address the question “What is restorative justice? They do so by proposing definitions or principles that make up a restorative response to crime.
- Distinguishing Restorative Justice
- An approach used by many writers has been to contrast restorative justice from what is presented as conventional criminal justice (referred to as retribution, traditional criminal justice, or in other ways).
- Adopting Restorative Justice
- Arguments, strategies and issues related to adoption of restorative programmes and policies.
- The Potential of Restorative Justice
- What kind of role might restorative justice play in the future?
- Limitations to Restorative Justice
- Are there cases or situations in which restorative justice cannot be used, or should be used only with great care?
- Kinds of Crimes
- Articles and other resources concerning how restorative justice can be applied in a variety of crimes, including serious and complex ones.
- Restorative Justice for Diversion
- Articles and resources concerning use of restorative justice instead of charging, making a finding of guilt or innocence or sentencing to the more conventional sanctions used by the criminal justice system.
- Conceptual Issues and Justifications
- These articles consider a variety of theoretical or conceptual (as opposed to practical) issues posed by restorative justice practice.
- Restorative Justice and Sentencing
- Articles and other resources on the issues and possibilities related to judges using restorative justice when imposing and (if necessary) enforcing sentences.
- Restorative Justice around the World
- Restorative Justice is a worldwide phenomenon. Here is where to find information about restorative policies, practices and programmes organized by region and country.
- Statutes, Cases, Regulations and Recommendations from National, Regional and Intergovernmental Bodies
- The following are formal documents adopted nationally, regionally or internationally by governments and/or intergovernmental bodies.
- Retribution and Restoration
- During the early years of the restorative justice movement restoration was often contrasted with retribution in an attempt to illustrate what was different about restorative justice. Some proponents then and now argue that there is no place for infliction of pain in a restorative response to crime. Others have adopted the position that restorative justice actually accomplishes retributive purposes, perhaps better than conventional punishment does.
- Due Process Issues
- Criminal defendants -- and victims -- have fundamental human rights that must be respected in any state-sanctioned proceeding. A variety of legal protections have been established over the centuries, but for the most part these anticipate a formal legal process. How can the benefits of informal processes be gained without jeopardizing the human rights of the parties? How can those rights be observed without formalizing the informal restorative processes?
- Public vs. Private Justice
- The criminal justice system addresses the lawbreaking behaviour of the offender. In many countries cases are called Government v. Defendant to reflect that emphasis. Restorative justice expands this focus in two ways. First, it takes the harm that resulted from the lawbreaking into consideration. Second, it acknowledges the interests of victims in both the process and outcome of the justice system. How does restorative justice balance the private and public nature of crime and of a just response to crime?
- Restorative Justice and Minorities
- Articles and resources concerning restorative justice and the over-representation of minorities in the criminal justice system.