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Provides a listing of articles on restorative justice developments in Norway. Articles appear in the order in which they were added to the site with the most recent appearing first.

In sentencing criminals, is Norway too soft? Or are we too harsh?
from the article by Liliana Segura in The Nation: ....“Western Europeans regard 10 or 12 years as an extremely long term, even for offenders sentenced in theory to life,” he said. Today, there are more than 41,000 people serving life without parole in the United States compared to fifty-nine in Australia, forty-one in England and thirty-seven in the Netherlands. That’s according to a study released this spring, which found that we are “in the minority of countries using several sentencing practices, such as life without parole, consecutive sentences, juvenile life without parole, juvenile transfer to adult courts, and successive prosecution of the same defendant by the state and federal government.”
Atlantic Article
Mr Fisher's article is very interesting. However I believe this is an appropriate response to its shortfalls:[…]oo-soft-or-are-we-too-harsh
A different justice: Why Anders Breivik only got 21 years for killing 77 people
from the article by Max Fisher on The Atlantic: Although Breivik will likely be in prison permanently -- his sentence can be extended -- 21 years really is the norm even for very violent crimes. The much-studied Norwegian system is built on something called restorative justice. Proponents of this system might argue that it emphasizes healing: for the victims, for the society, and, yes, for the criminal him or herself.
Ted Wachtel on Nils Christie's plenary at European Forum
from Restorative Practices Blog: Today I attended the first day of the European Forum for Restorative Justice Conference that’s being held in Helsinki, Finland. It was nice to hear Nils Christie give a plenary speech. Nils Christie is now an 84-year-old emeritus professor from Norway whose famous article, “Conflict As Property,” defined the whole idea that governments and courts and lawyers steal our conflicts, and that we should have a right and an opportunity to resolve our own conflicts.
Norway's humane prison
The world is certainly in need of more humane prisons. Some of the places where we house inmates are very much sub-standard and inhumane. This [...]
Norway builds the world's most humane prison
But how restorative is it? from William Lee Adams' article in Time: Ten years and 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($252 million) in the making, Halden is spread over 75 acres (30 hectares) of gently sloping forest in southeastern Norway. The facility boasts amenities like a sound studio, jogging trails and a freestanding two-bedroom house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits. Unlike many American prisons, the air isn't tinged with the smell of sweat and urine. Instead, the scent of orange sorbet emanates from the "kitchen laboratory" where inmates take cooking courses. "In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect," says Are Hoidal, the prison's governor. "We don't see any of this as unusual."
Rytterbro, Lise-Lotte. Victim and Offender Viewed From the Perspective of Mediation
In Sweden and Norway, some types of crimes are handled through mediation between the victim and the offender. Only some types of offenders and some types of victims are deemed suitable for this type of criminal justice intervention, however. The author examined the way in which victims and offenders were described by analyzing written and oral statements of the target groups for mediation in Sweden and Norway. The author also examined quantitative data on the victims and perpetrators who usually take part in mediations. The analysis revealed that offenders who were regarded as suitable for participation in mediation tended to be young, first-time offenders. As such, suitable offenders are typically characterized by their age, the seriousness of their offense, and their criminal history. On the other hand, victims who were deemed appropriate for mediation were defined on the basis of whom the crime was committed by, rather than their own characteristics. Victims who were victimized by young people, and who were victimized by less serious offenses were deemed suitable for mediation. In this way, crime policy is affected by the way youthful offenders are constructed as responsible individuals who must be made to pay for their crimes. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Schjelderup, Liv and More, Cecilie. Family Group Conferencing in Norway: Development and Status.
Since the mid-1990’s, family group conferencing has become a part of the child welfare landscape in Norway. Associate Professor Liv Schjelderup and Assistant Professor Cecilie More of the University of Stavanger, Norway provide this overview of the development and use of this intervention.
Stabekk, Grete and Granrud, Merete. VOM-- Training in Norway.
The Norwegians Mediation Service is regulated by an act called The National Mediation Service Act from 1991. The regulations relating to mediation by the National Mediation Service describes the task and purpose of the National Mediation Service Office. Section 1 states that: The task of the Service is to mediate in conflicts arising because one or more persons have inflicted damage or loss or otherwise offended another person Mediation by the National Mediation Service Office is intended as an alternative to ordinary criminal proceedings and to the resolution of other conflicts the parties themselves shall actively contribute. (excerpt)
Albrecht, Berit . Multicultural Challenges for Restorative Justice: Mediators' Experiences from Norway and Finland .
Since today's civil society in the Nordic countries is multi-ethnic, participants and mediators in restorative justice procedures often have diverse cultural backgrounds. This can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and at worst re-victimization of the victim. This article aims to discuss the applicability of restorative justice theory and practices in cross-culture mediation with a focus on migrant minorities such as immigrants and refugees in Finland and Norway. On the basis of case studies and interviews with mediators, administrative mediation staff, and project leaders in countries, relevant issues such as communication processes, prejudices and stereotypes, the role of the mediator and mediation models are discussed. The study explains advantages of restorative justice for minorities in Norway and Finland as well as the need of safeguards. It demonstrates that restorative justice theory is a concept of conflict resolution that is more easily accessible for minorities from certain ethnic groups than from others. Finally, the value of restorative justice for the social integration of minorities is critically discussed. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to problems of restorative justice for ethnic migrant minorities, not to provide 'handbook solutions'. In the course of this research project, it became clear that more systematic research is needed, including the perspective of participants in mediations, in order to enhance appropriate restorative justice practices for migrant minorities in the Nordic countries. (author's abstract)
Ida Hydle and Geir Dale. Challenging The Evaluation of Norwegian Restorative Justice Experiences
This article describes the various restorative justice practices in Norway in which we have played significant roles, and then proposes a model for evaluation based upon these.In so doing it makes a case both for restorative justice and evaluation as critical for assessing the value of restorative justice and for learning and improvement. The paper concludes with a short analysis of an example of evaluatory research applied to a particular restorative justice project.
Lemonne, Anne and Snare, Annika. Restoration and Alternative Solution of Conflicts
This article focuses on the backgrounds of and arguments presented by both the maximalist model and the community empowerment models, within the restorative justice movement. The maximalist model, discussed using the United States’ death row as an example, includes programs designed to establish mediation between offenders and their victims in a prison setting. The community empowerment model demonstrates a shift away from empowering the criminal justice system towards empowering local communities in order to manage conflict resolution. Illustrated by discussing the Norwegian community mediation boards, this article addresses the ways that the divergent models of community empowerment and maximalism coexist within the restorative justice movement.
Paus, Karen Kristin. Victim-offender mediation in Norway
Two key events in the late 1970s provide the background for victim-offender mediation in Norway. In 1976 Nils Christie wrote an article redefining conflicts as property. This alternative to the accepted understanding of crime interpreted crime as "owned" by those directly involved in and affected by the offense: namely, the victim and the offender. They primarily – not the state – had a conflict that required resolution. In 1978 the government’s Report on Criminal Justice pointed towards the desirability of alternatives to incarceration for juveniles. From all of this, the first experimental mediation project began in 1981 in Norway. In 1983 the Ministry of Social Affairs called upon all localities in Norway to establish similar programs. Throughout the 1980s various organizations developed to provide mediation services or to study victim-offender mediation. In the early 1990s national legislation was passed to establish a mediation service program. Mediation is available for juveniles and adults, and for both civil and criminal cases. Prosecutors can refer cases to mediation, and civil cases can also be referred to mediation by the parties themselves. The 1991 Act of Mediation defines the basic principles of mediation as voluntary participation, the parties’ influence on the process and results, and the impartiality of the mediator. In general, mediation occurs in particular circumstances as a part of the overall criminal justice system. With respect to the quality and scope of services provided, there are significant variations among localities. Police receive only a small amount of education concerning mediation services. Mediation Services in Norway works with both victim-offender mediation and other types of mediation (such as school mediation).
Kemény, Siri Ilona. "Policy developments and the concept of restorative justice through mediation. "
Kemeny notes two different perspectives giving rise to restorative justice perspectives: one is academically and sociologically based; and the other is religiously inspired. In Norway, restorative justice is rooted not in the church but in secular thought and practice stemming from Nils Christie’s notion of criminal offenses as “conflictsâ€? between victims and offenders. From this Kemeny, using a definition from the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, refers to restorative justice as a process of reparation of the harm caused by crime – a process of conflict resolution. Using Norway as an example, the author asks whether the aims of restorative justice – conflict resolution offering healing for both the victim and the offender – can be realized or whether they will inevitably be compromised by the established criminal justice system. In Norway in the 1970s and 1980s experiments occurred in alternative conflict resolution – mediation and reconciliation – especially for lesser offenses and for juveniles. Though the results were decidedly ambiguous, in 1991 the Norwegian Parliament passed legislation establishing a mediation and reconciliation service
Olsen, Ketil Leth. Conferencing with young offenders in Norway: cooperation between policymakers and practitioners
The National Mediation Service of Norway implemented victim-offender mediation services for juvenile justice cases in 2006 and the results have been very positive. The author discusses important considerations for all cases that involve mediation, particularly ones that involve youth.
Lilloe-Olsen, Kjersti and Eimot, Terje. Experiences of cooperation in a nationwide mediation service – the example of Norway
This report details how Norway's national mediation service works, which has been functioning since 1993. It includes long-term statistics about changes in crime occurrences from 1999 to 2007.
Dale, Geir and Hydle, Ida. Challenging the Evaluation of Norwegian Restorative Justice Experiences"
This article describes the various restorative justice practices in Norway in which we have played significant roles, and then proposes a model for evaluation based upon these. In so doing it makes a case both for restorative justice and for evaluation as critical for assessing the value of restorative justice and for learning and improvement. The paper concludes with a short analysis of an example of evaluatory research applied to a particular restorative justice project. (author's abstract)
Bronebakk, Kristin Bolgen. Alternative Sanctions and Measures (with Special Attention to Conditional Release)
My operational definition of “Alternative sanctions and measures” is: “anything that replaces prison with something else”. I will also briefly comment on community efforts to prevent young people from embarking on a criminal career. Of particular importance are the Mediation Boards: channelling cases away from the courts to be handled in the local community based on the concept of restorative justice. The Mediation Boards constitute a separate system not under the Correctional Services. (author's abstract)
Bala, Merita and Gjoka, Rasim and Paus, Karen Kristin. Building a domestic and international partnership for implementing RJ
In 1999, restorative justice efforts in Albania partnered with efforts in Norway, largely in a financial sense but also in an information-sharing way. The two countries being substantially different, certain accommodations had to be made. There was a need for time and reliable interpreters so information could be presented clearly and understood thoroughly. The two organizations met not as teachers and students but as colleagues, creating an equal give-and-take in observing how the other organization managed restorative justice, primarily mediation. The report includes both the Norwegian and the Albanian perspectives on the partnership. Fundamentally, they both agree that the differences between their countries complemented the work they were doing rather than hindered it.
Jorgensen, Gro. ‘Selling’ restorative justice to the media-How far can we go?
The author discusses why people involved in mediation should not be afraid to interact with the media. She goes on to describe how journalists think and work in order to provide tips on how best to be a good source and accommodate the media's values while portraying restorative justice in its best light. All her points are illustrated by her own experience as both a journalist and a person who works with the Norwegian Ministry of Justice.

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