The International Journal of Restorative Justice

About this journal  

Subscribe to the email alerts for this journal here to receive notifications when a new issue is at your disposal.

Issue Online first, 2023 Expand all abstracts

Transformative justice and restorative justice approaches to campus sexual assault: a scoping review

Keywords restorative justice, transformative justice, campus sexual assault, scoping review
Authors Sheila M. McMahon, M. Candace Christensen and Jelena Todić
AbstractAuthor's information

    Campus sexual assault (CSA) remains a persistent public health problem on U.S. college campuses. Changes in U.S. federal law have highlighted the need for responses to campus sexual assault (CSA) that meet the needs of persons harmed, increase meaningful accountability for persons responsible, and engage the whole campus in prevention efforts. These changes have simultaneously tightened standards of evidence in institutionalized campus adjudication methods and expanded resolution options to include processes such as restorative justice and transformative justice. The objective of this scoping review is to synthesize the available academic and grey literature about restorative justice and transformative justice responses to CSA up to September 2020. A total of 96 sources were reviewed, and 76 met the final inclusion criteria. For both restorative justice and transformative justice, there is a body of theory and praxis but minimal empirically established findings. Based on the available theoretical frameworks and praxis narratives, both restorative justice and transformative justice centre survivors’ needs, offer healing for individuals, and emphasize accountability for persons responsible for violence; however, restorative justice and transformative justice fundamentally differ in how they conceptualise the root cause of sexual violence and, therefore, what harms they aim to repair. While restorative justice in higher education settings focuses on interpersonal harms resulting from sexual violence, transformative justice emphasises repairing interpersonal harms resulting from sexual violence and transforming the structural conditions that enable sexual violence. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Sheila M. McMahon
Sheila M. McMahon, Associate Professor, Barry University, School of Social Work, Miami, Florida, USA.

M. Candace Christensen
M. Candace Christensen, Associate Professor, College for Health, Community and Policy, Department of Social Work, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Jelena Todić
Jelena Todić, Assistant Professr, College for Health, Community and Policy, Department of Social Work, Consequences of Trauma Working Group, Center for Community-Based and Applied Health Research The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Corresponding author: Sheila M. McMahon at smcmahon@barry.edu. Author Note: We have no known conflict of interest to disclose. Funding: No funding was utilised to support this scoping review.

Can Indigenous truth commissions overcome the legacies and contemporary effects of colonialism?

A study on the Australian-Canadian experience to explore possible paths in Argentina

Keywords restoratrive justice, transitional justice, truth commission, Canada, Australia, Argentina
Authors Valeria Vegh Weis and Chris Cunneen
AbstractAuthor's information

    While restorative justice has been extensively growing in democratic settings, less explored is its connection with transitional justice or, in other words, there have been insufficient attempts to explore the possibility of applying restorative justice mechanisms in countries dealing with the aftermath of mass violence. Seeking to fill this gap, this article addresses the connections between transitional justice and Indigenous demands. Particularly, the study focuses on the role of truth commissions as a restorative justice mechanism with the potential of creating a new narrative on human rights violations (or a ‘narrative turn’). The article then analyses the experience of Indigenous truth commissions in Australia and Canada, considering them within their political contexts and providing a critical analysis of the results. Finally, the study analyses the Argentinean case and the possibility for a truth commission to uncover the legacy of human rights violations against Indigenous communities. It also considers how the comparative experience assists in assessing the pertinence of having a truth commission in Argentina. Altogether, the article aims to explore the role of truth commissions, applied through a decolonial, transformative and actor-centred perspective, and their potential to challenge the narratives that have largely legitimised or denied harms against Indigenous peoples.

Valeria Vegh Weis
Valeria Vegh Weis is Research Fellow at the University of Konstanz, Germany.

Chris Cunneen
Chris Cunneen is Professor of Criminology at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Contact author: Valeria Vegh Weis at valeria.vegh-weis@uni-konstanz.de.

Exploring exemplarity in in-prison restorative rehabilitation to recover normativity

Keywords exemplarity, prison, rehabilitation programming, peer support, problematic drug abuse
Authors Jane Anderson
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ambiguous status of a prisoner as citizen has implications for rehabilitation and reintegration. Using Mazzucato’s (2017) philosophical work on the responsive-restorative model of justice and the potential of exemplarity as a guiding theory, this article explores how prisoners can be incentivised to become fully citizens. Three concepts for action have been identified in Mazzucato’s work: the virtuous zone, rules of conduct and exemplarity. These actions are reviewed and used to compare in-prison retributive practices and those exercised in a restorative rehabilitation programme which brings together prisoners and surrogate crime victims. The programme was designed in response to high rates of crime and incarceration associated with drug possession and supply in a regional city in Australia. The article concludes with a summary and findings that show how restorative responses can challenge the consequences of prison segregation, recover agency directed to voluntary compliance and exemplify normative conduct. It also demonstrates that restorative rehabilitation can have a residual effect. Some prisoners on release connected with a peer support service, the same organisation from which surrogate victims were drawn for the programme. Restorative rehabilitation is thus shown to have potential for giving ongoing support to prisoners in their transition to full citizenship.

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is Adjunct Research Fellow at School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, Australia. Corresponding author: Jane Anderson at jane.anderson@uwa.edu.au. Acknowledgements: My thanks go to the prison superintendent and staff for supporting the restorative rehabilitation initiative. I am grateful to the peer reviewers for their constructive criticism which has led to substantial improvements to this article.

Assessing the restorativeness of American school discipline programmes

Keywords restorative index, American schools, restorativeness, restorative practices, restorative justice in education
Authors Jeremy Olson, Nadine M. Connell, Nina Barbieri e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice principles have been lauded for their potential to decrease school-based disparities in discipline, especially owing to the disproportionately negative impact on minority students and students with disabilities. Despite high levels of financial investment, little remains known about the quality of restorative justice programmes or the specific mechanism by which restorativeness is embedded into these approaches. Using the Olson and Sarver (2021) Restorative Index as a validation tool, this study assesses the level of restorativeness of twelve school-based restorative justice programmes. These programmes were identified and included on the basis of the fact that they were implemented within a U.S. school, sought to address a specific student behaviour or set of student behaviours through a restorative practice, and were subject to at least one outcomes study available in an English language journal, thesis/dissertation or report. Findings indicate a mixed level of restorative quality between programmes, with outward engagement domains of restorativeness less likely to be evident in programmes when compared with more traditionally known elements of restorative justice. In addition, U.S.-based school restorative justice programmes continue to rely on discipline-oriented practices despite claims of change. We discuss implications for both the Restorative Index and the restorative justice discipline.

Jeremy Olson
Jeremy Olson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Pennsylvania State University Wilkes-Barre, Dallas, PA, USA.

Nadine M. Connell
Nadine M. Connell, PhD. Associate Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University Gold Coast Campus, Southport, Queensland, Australia.

Nina Barbieri
Nina Barbieri, PhD, Associate Professor and Assistant Department Chair, Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, TX, USA.

Diana Rodriguez
Diana Rodriguez, MSCJ, Doctoral student, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA. Corresponding author: Jeremy Olson, jao@psu.edu.

Access_open The spaces for restorative justice practices in a forensic inpatient mental health hospital: a thematic analysis of group case supervision.

Keywords restorative justice, secure, forensic, inpatient, mental health, implementation
Authors James Tapp and Chelsea Verrinder
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice practices are relatively new to forensic mental health settings. Therefore, there is limited understanding of where and how these practices might feature in this work. The current study explored the spaces for them in a forensic inpatient hospital drawing upon data from group case supervision. Five themes were developed from three concurrent monthly case supervision sessions attended by fourteen restorative justice practitioners. Challenges to using restorative justice practices where participants had mental health needs were evident, but these needs were not thought to preclude their use. Practitioners brought up implications for workload. Assumptions about the principle of neutrality were raised, where staff had different roles in the process. Staff as participants in restorative justice practices raised considerations around professional identity and vulnerability. Restorative justice practices offered unique and complementary ways to repair harm, but these may not always fit within the values or needs of the organisation. The idea of bringing together people affected by harm can raise worries and may feel counter-intuitive to practices that reduce risk. It was important that new staff were made aware of restorative justice opportunities and that policies and procedures were in place and communicated to protect and foster its new status.

James Tapp
James Tapp, PhD, is a senior lecturer at Kingston University, London, United Kingdom and psychologist at Broadmoor Hospital in Crowthorne, United Kingdom.

Chelsea Verrinder
Chelsea Verrinder is a Nurse Degree Apprentice at Broadmoor Hospital in Crowthorne and Buckinghamshire New University, United Kingdom. Corresponding author: James Tapp at james.tapp@westlondon.nhs.uk.

Access_open Restorative justice in cases of gender-based violence against women: perspectives on shame, symbolic interactionism and agency

Keywords restorative justice, gender-based violence against women, shame, symbolic interactionism, agency
Authors Marta Lamanuzzi
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the debated issue of the appropriateness of restorative justice programmes in cases of gender-based violence against women perpetrated by men. After brief references to the literature on the topic, a few points for reflection will be offered combining different perspectives. Some concern the role of shame, from the victim blaming phenomenon – which often affects women victims of gender-based violence – to the so-called ‘reintegrative shaming’ of the offender theorised by Braithwaite. Others are drawn from symbolic interactionism, applied to restorative processes involving these types of crime. Finally, the importance of agency – a key point in restorative practices – is emphasised as it fosters the self-esteem of the victim and the rehabilitation of the perpetrator. These perspectives support the conclusion that there are no valid reasons to exclude restorative justice in cases of gender-based violence against women.

Marta Lamanuzzi
Marta Lamanuzzi is a post-doc researcher in Criminal Law and Criminology at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy. Corresponding author: marta.lamanuzzi@unicatt.it. Acknowledgements: This article has been published thanks to the financial support of Regione Lombardia in the framework of the project ‘Capire, prevenire e contrastare la violenza contro le donne’ (ID. 3250856) - Call ‘Promozione di progetti e/o percorsi formativi nel sistema universitario lombardo sulle tematiche di prevenzione e contrasto alla violenza contro le donne, 2021-2022, dd.g.r. n. 4643/2021 e 5081/2021’.

Embracing uncertainty: A narrative case study on teacher-learner relationships through restorative justice practices in education

Keywords uncertainty, analogous processing, self-justification
Authors Zachary Schafer and Guy Trainin
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice practices in educational settings recognising trauma and extreme life circumstances have become increasingly relevant since the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing impacts of climate change. This narrative inquiry uses Clandinin and Connelly’s suggestions for data collection and narrative structure to describe the interactions between one teacher and one learner over the course of two years in a programme created as an alternative to school suspension. Using a dual framework combining a variety of perspectives from restorative justice practices and Chen’s model of uncertainty management in science education, the researchers iteratively and thematically analysed the teacher-learner interactions. The storied results unveiled the layered complexities within ongoing restorative conversations and relationships.

Zachary Schafer
Zachary Schafer is a Doctoral Student at the College of Education and Human Sciences of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.

Guy Trainin
Guy Trainin is Professor of Education at the University of California-Riverside, USA. Corresponding author: Zachary Schafer at zschafer3@gmail.com.

The restorative nature of Aymara Indigenous justice in Bolivia

Keywords Indigenous justice, restorative justice, Bolivia, Latin America
Authors Paolo Baffero, Ali Wardak and Kate Williams
AbstractAuthor's information

    Much current Western scholarship suggests that the modern idea of restorative justice is not totally a recent invention; it shares a common basis with and is similar to Indigenous justice. This article draws on fieldwork concerning Indigenous justice in Bolivia and contends that it has little in common with restorative justice. In much of the Western world, modern justice systems are largely retributive, based on individual blame and punishment, and restorative mechanisms are used rarely as complementary. Our Bolivian fieldwork revealed Indigenous justice to be a full-fledged, intrinsically restorative system of justice. This article will briefly set out conceptualisations and practices of restorative justice in the Western world before going on to consider in some detail the Indigenous system in Bolivia. It will contend that it is the differences between Western restorative justice and Indigenous justice which are more important to a proper understanding of Indigenous justice. It will make the argument that linking the two may be damaging to the comprehension and survival of Indigenous justice and may also inhibit the real potential of Indigenous justice to enrich justice practices in Western countries.

Paolo Baffero
Dr Paolo Baffero is Research Assistant in Criminology, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.

Ali Wardak
Dr Ali Wardak is Professor of Criminology, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom.

Kate Williams
Dr Kate Williams is Professor of Criminology, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom. Corresponding author: Paolo Baffero at paolo.baffero@southwales.ac.uk.

Mitigating risk in restorative justice

Keywords risk, restorative justice, complex cases, facilitator
Authors Joanna Shapland, Jamie Buchan, Steve Kirkwood e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Assessing and mitigating risks is essential for safe restorative justice practice, and yet very little has been written on this topic. In this study, we addressed this issue by interviewing 30 experienced restorative justice practitioners from eleven jurisdictions across Europe to explore how they assessed and mitigated risks. Our findings show that assessment and mitigation practices focused on risks relating to the restorative justice process proceeding safely, especially in relation to any feelings of safety for the potential participants, rather than, for example, risks of re-offending. Although practitioners reported some cases being ‘too risky’ for restorative justice, this was rare, and was usually due to the requirements for restorative justice being violated, such as the offender denying responsibility, the presence of threats or coercion, or mental ill health or substance abuse that prevented communication, rather than the type or severity of the offence. Rather than the standardised or actuarial risk assessment tools used in other criminal justice contexts, risk assessment and mitigation in restorative justice practice is being done through processes based on restorative justice practices and principles; that is, through discussion, negotiation, and mutual agreement.

Joanna Shapland
Joanna Shapland is the Edward Bramley Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Law at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Jamie Buchan
Jamie Buchan is a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, UK.

Steve Kirkwood
Steve Kirkwood is Senior Lecturer in Social Work in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Estelle Zinsstag
Estelle Zinsstag is a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, UK and a Senior Research Associate at the Leuven Institute of Criminology, University of Leuven, Belgium. Corresponding author: Joanna Shapland at j.m.shapland@sheffield.ac.uk.

Becoming a restorative university: The role of restorative justice in higher education

Keywords restorative practices, higher education, tertiary education, university, restorative justice
Authors David Karp
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the concept of a restorative university, an organisation that embraces restorative justice principles and practices. The article reviews the emergence of contemporary restorative justice; a framework for restorative justice in higher education; implementation in student affairs; the place of restorative justice in academic affairs; restorative justice and organisational culture; what we know about campus implementation, including results of a survey of universities; and suggestions for practical next steps for higher education institutions to become more restorative. Wherever possible, the article references restorative applications globally but predominantly focuses on university campuses in the United States.

David Karp
Daivd R. Karp is a Professor of Leadership Studies and Director of the Centre for Resorative Justice at the University of San Diego,University of San Diego, USA. Corresponding author: Daivd R. Karp at dkarp@sandiego.edu.

The ambiguous practice of restorative justice

Observations on conflict mediation in a police context

Keywords restorative justice, conflict mediation, community policing, action research, case studies
Authors Ronald van Steden and Gert Jan Slump
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses conflict mediation as an addition to community police work. After contextualising our topic within the scientific literature about restorative justice and restorative policing, the article presents six in-depth cases involving neighbour disputes, a street fight, domestic violence and non-consensual sharing of nude images. Our action-oriented research aims to describe the mediation sessions and evaluate them in light of three core principles of restorative justice. The conflicting parties must (a) voluntarily enter into a dialogue, and during this dialogue, the mediator needs to (b) address their individual needs and (c) promote healing, repair and restoration. We conclude that it is challenging to apply these principles fully in everyday practices of mediation in a community policing context. First, the symbolic dimension of police authority may sometimes have played a role in bringing conflicting parties together voluntarily, where previous attempts had failed. Second, in one case, the underaged victim and the offender were represented by their parents, leaving the protagonists’ needs out of the equation. Finally, we did not witness full healing and restoration in any of the cases. Instead, the mediator and the conflicting parties tried to arrive at pragmatic conflict resolution based on individual needs.

Ronald van Steden
Ronald van Steden is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Gert Jan Slump
Gert Jan Slump is an independent criminological researcher and consultant.