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Article

Exploring the growth and development of ­restorative justice in Bangladesh

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online first 2021
Keywords restorative justice, Bangladesh, salish, village courts, INGOs
Authors Muhammad Asadullah and Brenda Morrison
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although restorative justice is a new concept in Bangladesh (BD), resolving wrongdoing outside the criminal justice system is not a new practice. Community-based mediation, known as salish, has been practised for centuries – withstanding colonisation, adaptation and distortion. Other practices, such as village courts and customary justice, are also prevalent in Bangladesh. Of these, village courts are currently the most widely practised in Bangladesh. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ Bangladesh) formally introduced restorative justice in 2013 with the support of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), NGOs, academics and government agencies. Most of the literature on community-based justice practice focuses on village courts; academic, peer-reviewed research on restorative justice in Bangladesh is scarce. This qualitative study explores the growth and development of restorative justice in Bangladesh. Using in-depth qualitative interviews and survey, the study retraces the genesis of restorative justice in Bangladesh. In recent times, GIZ Bangladesh has been key to the development of restorative justice, which was further expanded by UNDP’s Activating Village Courts project, as well as a graduate course on restorative justice at the University of Dhaka. This study also finds contentious themes raised by the key informants, specifically the role of INGOs, government and community.


Muhammad Asadullah
Muhammad Asadullah is Assistant Professor at the Department of Justice Studies, University of Regina, Canada. Contact author: Muhammad Asadullah at Muhammad.Asadullah@uregina.ca.

Brenda Morrison
Brenda Morrison is Associate Professor at the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Canada.
Article

Covid-19 Emergency Prison Release Policy: A Public Health Imperative and a Rule of Law Challenge

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords emergency prison release, rule of law, democracy, reducing prison overcrowding, prisoner rights, appropriate sanctions for white collar criminals, alternatives to custodial sentences
Authors Victoria Jennett
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many countries are implementing emergency releases of people from prison to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Such measures, while critical to public health, can enable the unjust release from prison of politically connected and wealthy individuals convicted of corruption offences, thereby undermining the rule of law and democratic values by weakening public trust in the justice system. To reduce overcrowding of prisons while ensuring that white-collar criminals are appropriately sanctioned, one strategy is to impose alternatives to custodial sentences that ensure appropriate sanctioning of convicted criminals while de-densifying prisons – an approach that could be considered for non-emergency times as well.
    Main points:

    • Emergency prison release mechanisms to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can pose corruption risks owing to weak design, uneven implementation and inadequate oversight.

    • Such releases take three main forms: prisoner amnesties declared by governments; emergency release procedures drafted by governments and implemented by prison directors; and court decisions to release individual prisoners or set out frameworks to determine who is eligible for release.

    • These emergency procedures can enable the unjust release of politically connected prisoners convicted of corruption offences and undermine public trust in the rule of law and the justice system.

    • To help maintain rule of law during the emergency, alternatives to custodial sentences in line with international standards can be imposed on newly released persons who have been convicted of corruption crimes.

    • Conditions attached to releases can include, among others, status penalties, economic sanctions and monetary penalties, confiscation or expropriation of assets, and restitution or compensation to victims.

    • In non-emergency times, as well, alternatives to custodial sentences can be used to sanction those convicted of corruption crimes as a means to mitigate financial and social damage caused by corruption and reduce prison overcrowding.


Victoria Jennett
Dr. Victoria Jennett is an independent consultant to governments and international organisations on justice sector reform. She acknowledges the insights from Sofie Arjon Shuette at the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, UNODC colleagues and prison officials in the UK and the USA on an earlier version of this paper.
Article

An Australian Aboriginal in-prison restorative justice process: a worldview explanation

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Australian Aboriginal, prison, recidivism, worldview, restorative justice
Authors Jane Anderson
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a response to the over-representation of Australian Aboriginal offenders in Western Australian prisons and high rates of reoffending, this article presents a sketch of Western and Australian Aboriginal worldviews and core symbols as a basis for understanding the rehabilitative-restorative needs of this prisoner cohort. The work first reviews and argues that the Western-informed Risk-Need-Responsivity model of programming for Australian Aboriginal prisoners has limited value for preventing reoffending. An introduction and description are then given to an Aboriginal in-prison restorative justice process (AIPRJP) which is delivered in a regional Western Australian prison. The process is largely undergirded by an Australian Aboriginal worldview and directed to delivering a culturally constructive and corrective intervention. The AIPRJP uses a range of symbolic forms (i.e. ritual, myth, play, art, information), which are adapted to the prison context to bring about the aims of restorative justice. The article contends that culturally informed restorative justice processes can produce intermediate outcomes that can directly or indirectly be associated with reductions in reoffending.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is Honorary Research Fellow, Anthropology and Sociology, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia. Contact author: jane.a@westnet.com.au; jane.anderson@uwa.edu.au.
Article

The adventure of the institutionalisation of restorative justice in Belgium

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, institutionalisation, penal change, Belgium
Authors Anne Lemonne
AbstractAuthor's information

    At first glance, the adventure of restorative justice (RJ) in Belgium can be considered a real success story. At the turn of the 21st century, programmes oriented towards this justice model officially determined the criminal justice agenda. What were the key ideas that led to the conceptualisation of restorative justice in Belgium? Who were the main actors and agencies that carried them out? What were the main issues that led to the institutionalisation of restorative justice? What are the effects of its implementation on the Belgian criminal justice system in general? This article strives to present the main findings of a study on the basis of an extensive data collection effort and analysis targeting discourses and practices created by actors from the Belgian academic, scientific, political, administrative, social work and judicial spheres from the 1980s to 2015.


Anne Lemonne
Anne Lemonne is a researcher at the Department of Criminology, National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology (NICC) and a member of the Centre de recherches criminologiques at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium. Contact author: Anne.Lemonne@just.fgov.be.
Article

Access_open South African female offenders’ experiences of the Sycamore Tree Project with strength-based activities

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Female offenders, positive psychology, Prison Fellowship, strength-based activities, Sycamore Tree Project (STP)
Authors Mariëtte Emmerentia Fourie and Vicki Koen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this study is to explore South African female offenders’ experiences of the Sycamore Tree Project (STP) with strength-based activities. A qualitative, explorative-descriptive research design was applied. The sample included nineteen female offenders who were purposively sampled. Data were collected through the world café method and thematically analysed. The results identify four main themes, namely experiences of STP with strength-based activities, new discoveries as a result of participation in the STP with strength-based activities, experiences of strength-based activities and recommendations regarding the STP with strength-based activities.


Mariëtte Emmerentia Fourie
Mariëtte Emmerentia Fourie is a Master in Positive Psychology, Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Vicki Koen
Vicki Koen is a Research Psychologist, Department of Psychology, North-West University (Mafikeng Campus), Mafikeng, South Africa. Contact author: Vicki Koen at 12976121@nwu.ac.za.
Editorial

Access_open Legal Control on Social Control of Sex Offenders in the Community: A European Comparative and Human Rights Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords social control, folk devils, moral panic, dangerousness, sex offenders
Authors Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper provides first of all the introduction to this special issue on ‘Legal constraints on the indeterminate control of “dangerous” sex offenders in the community: A European comparative and human rights perspective’. The issue is the outcome of a study that aims at finding the way legal control can not only be an instrument but also be a controller of social control. It is explained what social control is and how the concept of moral panic plays a part in the fact that sex offenders seem to be the folk devils of our time and subsequently pre-eminently the target group of social control at its strongest. Further elaboration of the methodology reveals why focussing on post-sentence (indeterminate) supervision is relevant, as there are hardly any legal constraints in place in comparison with measures of preventive detention. Therefore, a comparative approach within Europe is taken on the basis of country reports from England and Wales, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain. In the second part of the paper, the comparative analysis is presented. Similar shifts in attitudes towards sex offenders have led to legislation concerning frameworks of supervision in all countries but in different ways. Legal constraints on these frameworks are searched for in legal (sentencing) theory, the principles of proportionality and least intrusive means, and human rights, mainly as provided in the European Convention on Human Rights to which all the studied countries are subject. Finally, it is discussed what legal constraints on the control of sex offenders in the community are (to be) in place in European jurisdictions, based on the analysis of commonalities and differences found in the comparison.


Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
Ph.D., LL.M, M.Sc., Reader in Criminal Law (Theory) and Forensic Psychiatry at the Erasmus School of Law; Member of the Editorial Board of the Erasmus Law Review.

Zoltán Tallódi
Deputy head of department, Ministry of Justice.
Article

Can Imprisonment Be Cheaper? The Case for Private Prisons

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2015
Keywords costs, criminal law, law and economics, private prisons, privatization
Authors Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko
AbstractAuthor's information

    Custody is the most expensive method of punishment in the Western world, as compared to other alternatives. Although expensive, prison is an indispensible instrument to deal with judgement proof or dangerous offenders. Hence, by using the law and economics approach, this article explores prison privatization as an instrument for less expensive incarceration. This method has the potential to reduce the prison costs without hampering its quality. However, a restructuring of the current contracts is needed to achieve this purpose. The attention given to the topic of private prisons by the law and economics scholars, especially in the European context, is limited, and this article attempts to fill this gap. The present article applies arguments from the bureaucracy and political science literature to explain the inefficiencies of public prisons. Subsequently, the potential problems of private prisons are presented through the principle-agent model and solutions are offered.


Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko
Rotterdam Institute of Law & Economics (RILE), Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
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