Critical Issues in Restorative JusticeBarb Toews, Howard Zehr
In a mere quarter-century, restorative justice has grown from a few scattered experimental projects into a worldwide social movement. Moving beyond its origins within the criminal justice arena, restorative justice is now being applied in schools, homes and the workplace.
The restorative justice approach challenges the idea that state punishment is the best method of achieving justice. This “restorative” alternative strives to directly address the needs of all persons affected by a crime or a harm, often by bringing together victims, offenders and community members in some form of structured mediation or dialogue.
The distinguished contributors to this book are all long-term advocates and practitioners of restorative justice from North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa. The 31 chapters confront the key threats to the integrity and effectiveness of the emerging international restorative justice movement: (1) cooptation or diversion from its core mission, and the possibility that reforms may cause unintended consequences; (2) being relegated primarily to “minor” crimes or conflicts, so that it has minimal impact on the overall system or justice; and (3) inherent flaws that undermine its effectiveness, such as failure to address social problems that breed conflicts, and methods skewed by cultural or gender biases.