The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

Restorative justice in schools: examining participant satisfaction and its correlates

Keywords restorative justice, school-to-prison-pipeline, satisfaction
Authors Ph.D. John Patrick Walsh, Jaclyn Cwick, Patrick Gerkin en Joshua Sheffer
Author's information

Ph.D. John Patrick Walsh
Dr. John P. Walsh is professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States. Contact author: walshj@gvsu.edu.

Jaclyn Cwick
Dr. Jaclyn Cwick is assistant professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States.

Patrick Gerkin
Patrick Gerkin, PhD, is professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States.

Joshua Sheffer
Joshua Sheffer is assistant professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States.
  • Abstract

      Schools in the United States are implementing restorative justice practices that embrace student responsibility and reintegration to replace the zero-tolerance exclusionary policies popularised in the 1980s and 1990s. However, little is known about what factors are related to these and other restorative outcomes. The present study utilises 2017-2018 survey data (n = 1,313) across five West Michigan schools to determine how participant and restorative circle characteristics contribute to participant satisfaction within ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models. Findings show that several characteristics of restorative circles, including the number of participants, time spent in the restorative circle, number of times respondents have participated in a circle, and whether an agreement was reached, are significantly related to participant satisfaction. In addition, gender and participant role interact to have a significant effect on satisfaction. And models disaggregated by incident type indicate that the interaction between race and participant role has a significant effect on satisfaction, but only among restorative circles involving friendship issues. Suggestions for future research, as well as strategies aimed at improving participant satisfaction within restorative circles, are discussed.

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