The International Journal of Restorative Justice

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Issue Online First, 2024 Expand all abstracts

Balancing scripted and unscripted dialogue: the significance of intuition and presence in restorative justice pedagogy

Keywords intuitive pedagogy, inclusion, mindfulness, restorative justice in education
Authors Crystena Parker-Shandal
AbstractAuthor's information

    In restorative justice approaches to education, educators and community-based workers – such as teachers, administrators, social workers, and child and youth workers – often follow detailed scripts when conflict erupts. When used without conscious connection and reflection in post-incident reactive responses, such scripts can circumvent the actual issue and perpetuate harm. Centring humanity and relational connection in any restorative process requires intuitive and critical thinking if educators are to select questions with intention – they need to know when and how to modify approaches to facilitate equity and inclusion. Scripts are necessary for educators who need guidance and support when responding to conflict with a restorative process. Nevertheless, script use must be balanced with an intuitive, reflexive praxis that calls them to pause in the present moment and respond with intention. This article describes how three teachers used various scripted and unscripted approaches to resolve conflict and promote peace.

Crystena Parker-Shandal
Crystena Parker-Shandal, Associate Professor, Social Development Studies, Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Canada. Corresponding author: Crystena Parker-Shandal at crystena.parker-shandal@uwaterloo.ca.

How did restorative justice get onto the government agenda, and why does its implementation differ? A multiple streams approach

Keywords agenda-setting, government agenda, Multiple Streams Framework, policy implementation, restorative justice
Authors Verónica Viñas, Helena Soleto and Belén Hernández Moura
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice has resulted from a paradigm shift in the way criminal conflicts are dealt with. It involves achieving the pacification of the conflict while meeting the needs of victims, offenders and society, through dialogue. This article applies the multiple streams framework (MSF) to analyse how and why restorative justice got onto the government agenda in Western European countries. It also applies the novel theoretical adaptation of the MSF to analyse why restorative justice implementation is uneven across Western European countries and even within countries. The study shows that the generalised dissatisfaction of citizens with the traditional criminal justice system, their empowerment and the performance of policy entrepreneurs constituted a favourable context for restorative justice to get onto the government agenda. The findings underline that the MSF provides a useful lens through which to examine the complexity and dynamics of restorative justice policymaking and implementation processes.

Verónica Viñas
Verónica Viñas, Associate Professor, Social Science,Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain.

Helena Soleto
Helena Soleto, Full Professor, Criminal Law, Procedural Law and History of Law, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain.

Belén Hernández Moura
Belén Hernández Moura, Assistant professor,Criminal Law, Procedural Law and History of Law, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain. Corresponding author: veronica.vinas@uc3m.es.

Historical abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions: an ex ante evaluation of institutional and non-institutional response procedures

Keywords historical institutional abuse, Dutch Roman Catholic Church, repair, procedural justice, restorative justice
Authors Naomi R.S. Ormskerk, Maarten J.J. Kunst and Nicole L. Immler
AbstractAuthor's information

    With the disclosure of widespread sexual abuse within the Dutch Roman Catholic Church, victim-survivors demanded justice from Dutch Church authorities and the Dutch state. As conventional approaches, such as criminal and civil law, were deemed to be inept in achieving recognition and repair, new procedures had to be established. The Church initiated several complaint, compensation and mediation procedures. Besides these ‘institutional’ procedures (initiated by the ‘wrongdoer’ itself), a victim-led mediation procedure was developed. This article provides an ex ante evaluation of these varied response procedures in terms of the promise they made to achieve recognition and repair. Their design was assessed through the theoretical lenses of procedural and restorative justice. While the procedural lens shows that there is too little space for the voice of victim-survivors, the restorative lens shows that all responses were too individualistic in design, failing to integrate systemic aspects of the harm done at the institutional, societal and familial levels. These aspects are crucial to addressing the recognition claims at stake.

Naomi R.S. Ormskerk
Naomi R.S. Ormskerk, PhD student, University of Humanistic Studies, Chair Citizenship and Humanisation of the Public Sector, The Netherlands.

Maarten J.J. Kunst
Maarten J.J. Kunst, Full Professor, Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

Nicole L. Immler
Nicole L. Immler, Full Professor, University for Humanistic Studies, Chair Citizenship and Humanisation of the Public Sector, The Netherlands. Corresponding author: naomi.ormskerk@phd.uvh.nl.

The working mechanisms of the victim-offender mediation process: how might participation explain psychological outcomes in offenders?

Keywords victim-offender mediation, offenders, psychological impact, working mechanisms, restorative justice
Authors Jiska Jonas-van Dijk, Sven Zebel, Jacques Claessen e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Previous research shows that participation in victim-offender mediation (VOM) predicts psychological outcomes in offenders – such as increased responsibility-taking and victim empathy. However, little is known about elements that might contribute to these outcomes. We hypothesised that adhering to three fundamental conditions of VOM (perceived voluntary participation, preparation, professional competencies of mediators) and three working mechanisms (learning opportunity, humanising impact, a positive and constructive atmosphere and interaction with victims) would relate positively to the occurrence of these outcomes. In addition, we expected the fundamental conditions to either moderate the association between the working mechanisms and the psychological outcomes or to directly predict the presence of the working mechanisms. To examine this, we used quantitative (n = 55) and qualitative data (n = 9) of offenders and mediators, respectively, who participated in VOM. Results offered partial support for the hypotheses. Three groups of working mechanisms of the VOM process were related to psychological outcome variables: the perceived degree of a positive and constructive atmosphere and interaction with victims, humanising impact, and offering a learning process. The prevalence of the fundamental conditions, preparation and mediators’ professional competencies correlated positively with multiple working mechanisms; the perceived voluntary participation showed expected and unexpected associations with working mechanisms.

Jiska Jonas-van Dijk
Jiska Jonas-van Dijk, Assistant Professor of the Psychology Conflict Risk and Safety department at the Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Twente University, Netherlands.

Sven Zebel
Sven Zebel, Associate Professor of Psychology Conflict Risk and Safety at the Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Twente and Endowed Professor of Mediation at the Faculty of Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Jacques Claessen
Jacques Claessen, Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Endowed Professor of Restorative Justice at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Hans Nelen
Hans Nelen, Professor of Criminology at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology in the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Corresponding author: Jiska Jonas-van Dijk, j.jonas-vandijk@utwente.nl. Funding: This research was funded by a Research Talent Grant (grant number 406.17.555) from the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges in providing restorative justice services in Scotland: a qualitative study

Keywords criminal justice, COVID-19 pandemic, digital platforms, community involvement, emotional transformation
Authors Mohammad Pizuar Hossain
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice is a process in which victims and offenders voluntarily deal with the crime’s aftermath. It is one of the significant developments in criminal justice in the past decades. Many scholars and practitioners promote it worldwide in recent years as not simply an alternative but a complementary mechanism to the conventional criminal justice system. However, from the beginning of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and public health measures were imposed worldwide. As a result, the restorative justice service providers of various countries have faced new challenges in implementing this justice mechanism. This article explores the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed to the restorative justice professionals (i.e. managers and practitioners) in Scotland. It uses semi-structured interviews to collect data and thematic analysis to analyse the data. This article reveals that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the professionals had to provide restorative justice services in Scotland entirely through digital platforms and, therefore, they faced challenges in transforming emotion in the restorative justice processes, ensuring community participation and guaranteeing privacy and safety to the parties. It also indicates the fact that hybrid restorative justice services in Scotland seem to be a practical alternative for certain parties at times.

Mohammad Pizuar Hossain
Mohammad Pizuar Hossain, Senior Lecturer in Law, East West University, Bangladesh. Corresponding author: Mohammad Pizuar Hossain at pizuar@ewubd.edu.

Biblical justice as restorative justice: A critical-constructive analysis

Keywords Restorative Justice, virtue ethics, punishment, biblical justice
Authors Pieter De Witte
AbstractAuthor's information

    Christian proponents of the restorative justice movement often draw upon the concept of ‘biblical justice’ as a guiding principle for reforming the criminal justice system. This article delves into the meaning of biblical justice as espoused by advocates of restorative justice, exploring its application in theory and practice. Through an analysis of three recurring themes – overcoming division, justice as well-being and retribution – this article highlights the controversies and ambiguities surrounding these concepts from both theological and restorative justice perspectives. It proposes that adopting a virtue-ethical approach can offer a nuanced understanding of the relationship between biblical justice and restorative justice.

Pieter De Witte
Pieter De Witte, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Corresponding author: Pieter De Witte at pieter.dewitte@kuleuven.be.

Restorative justice, refugees and criminal harm in places of asylum

Keywords refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, restorative justice
Authors Steve Kirkwood
AbstractAuthor's information

    People who have had to flee their homes and seek asylum are often vulnerable and experience harm and trauma. Restorative justice offers a way of addressing the criminal harm that people of a refugee background may experience in places of asylum, and yet there is very little literature or visible practice on this topic. This article presents an exploratory study to address this issue, reviewing existing literature and presenting an analysis of interviews with restorative justice practitioners, representatives from organisations supporting refugees and asylum seekers, and people of a refugee background. Findings suggest restorative justice is a potentially beneficial response to address harms experienced by people of a refugee background, as it can be responsive to trauma, facilitate understanding and connection and address racism and antagonism. Barriers and challenges for restorative justice in this context include language, communication, interpretation, mistrust, insecure immigration status, the impact of trauma, and access to basic resources. Cultural difference ought to be taken into consideration, but it was not considered to be a barrier to engagement in restorative justice. The potential for restorative justice to address the structural issues that impact on people of a refugee background requires further exploration.

Steve Kirkwood
Steve Kirkwood, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, The University of Edinburgh, UK. Corresponding author: s.kirkwood@ed.ac.uk. Acknowledgments: this research was supported by funding from the Leverhulme Trust (RF-2022-366). I would like to thank all of those who supported me with this research, participated in interviews, and suggested potential contacts. I presented this work at the European Society of Criminology Annual Conference in Florence, Italy, September 2023, and would like to thank the audience members for their helpful responses. Thanks also to Lucy Jaffe and the anonymous peer reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.