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Article

Restorative justice practice in forensic mental health settings: bridging the gap

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords restorative justice in mental health, evidence-based practice, institutional settings, victims, ethics
Authors Gerard Drennan and Fin Swanepoel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ‘clinic’ has developed sophisticated systems for responding to the challenge of serious mental health conditions. Mental health services combine hierarchical decision-making processes, with clear medical authority, with interventions that are required to be evidence-based to the highest standard. This is a system in which ethical, defensible practice is imperative to protect the public and to protect practitioners from legal liability in the event of adverse outcomes. Restorative justice interventions are powerful ‘medicine’. At their best, they change lives. However, the evidence base for formal restorative justice interventions when ‘administered’ to people with severe mental health difficulties is almost non-existent. It is into this relative vacuum of empirical support that initial steps are being taken to formalise access to restorative justice for mental health populations. This article will consider the challenges for applications of restorative justice in mental health settings and how the gap between the principle of equality of access and actual practice could be conceptualised and bridged. Recommendations include a rigorous commitment to meeting the needs of victims; a focus on the mental health patient’s capacity to consent rather than the capacity to benefit; practice-based evidence development and the inclusion of restorative justice awareness in all mental health practitioner training.


Gerard Drennan
Gerard Drennan is Head of Psychology & Psychotherapy at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Fin Swanepoel
Fin Swanepoel is a Restorative Justice Practitioner at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. Corresponding author: Gerard Drennan at Gerard.Drennan@slam.nhs.uk. Acknowledgements: We wish to thank the reviewers of the first submission of this article for their helpful comments and suggestions as the article was significantly improved by their guidance. We also wish to thank our colleagues in forensic mental health services who are also working to introduce restorative justice practices in their settings. We have learnt so much from their vision and commitment. We have been sustained in our journey because we journey with them.

    Evaluations of restorative justice frequently report that only a minority of schools succeed in adopting a whole-school approach. More common are a consortium of practices necessitating the evaluation of schools not implementing the whole-school model but still achieving positive results. Previous research established that unconventional models have successful outcomes, yet little is known about the contextual factors and the causal mechanisms of different practices. This study finds that models of restorative justice facilitating student voice and consequently procedural justice have promising outcomes. Importantly, alternative models may be less resource-intensive, making them more feasible to fully implement.


Heather Norris
Heather Norris is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK. Corresponding author: Heather Norris at hnn1@aber.ac.uk.
Article

Exploring the growth and development of restorative justice in Bangladesh

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 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.

Brenda Morrison
Brenda Morrison is Associate Professor at the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Contact author: Muhammad.Asadullah@uregina.ca.

Tara Kumabe
Tara Kumabe is an elementary teacher with the York Region District School Board and an instructor at Trent University, Canada.

Christina Parker
Christina Parker is Associate Professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Canada. Contact author: tarakumabe@trentu.ca.

Ian D. Marder
Ian D. Marder is a Lecturer in Criminology in the Department of Law at Maynooth University, Ireland.

Meredith Rossner
Meredith Rossner is a Professor of Criminology at the Centre for Social Research and Methods at Australia National University, Australia. Contact author: Ian.Marder@mu.ie.

Lisa Merkel-Holguin
Lisa Merkel-Holguin is the Director of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, Department of Pediatrics, Aurora, Colorado, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA. Contact author: lisa.merkel-holguin@cuanschutz.edu.
Article

Risk, restorative justice and the Crown

a study of the prosecutor and institutionalisation in Canada

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords restorative justice, institutionalisation, risk, prosecutor, Canada
Authors Brendyn Johnson
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Canada, restorative justice programmes have long been institutionalised in the criminal justice system. In Ontario, specifically, their use in criminal prosecutions is subject to the approval of Crown attorneys (prosecutors) who are motivated in part by risk logics and risk management. Such reliance on state support has been criticised for the ways in which it might subvert the goals of restorative justice. However, neither the functioning of these programmes nor those who refer cases to them have been subject to much empirical study in Canada. Thus, this study asks whether Crown attorneys’ concerns for risk and its management impact their decision to refer cases to restorative justice programmes and with what consequences. Through in-depth interviews with prosecutors in Ontario, I demonstrate how they predicate the use of restorative justice on its ability to reduce the risk of recidivism to the detriment of victims’ needs. The findings suggest that restorative justice becomes a tool for risk management when prosecutors are responsible for case referrals. They also suggest that Crown attorneys bear some responsibility for the dangers of institutionalisation. This work thus contributes to a greater understanding of the functioning of institutionalised restorative justice in Canada.


Brendyn Johnson
Brendyn Johnson is a PhD candidate at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal, Canada. Contact author: brendyn.johnson@umontreal.ca. Acknowledgement: This research is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I am grateful for the support of Véronique Strimelle and Françoise Vanhamme for their guidance in the conducting of this research as well as Marianne Quirouette for her thoughtful comments in the writing of this article.
Article

An exploration of trauma-informed practices in restorative justice: a phenomenological study

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords restorative justice, trauma, trauma-informed care, interpretative phenomenological analysis
Authors Claudia Christen-Schneider and Aaron Pycroft
AbstractAuthor's information

    While several studies identify trauma as a main risk factor for developing offending behaviour, the criminal justice system still largely ignores the problem, and the same seems to be true of restorative justice. This article offers a critical exploration of trauma-informed work with offenders using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The interviewees perceive a growing interest in the topic of trauma and trauma-informed care (TIC). However, they also identify several areas that seem to hinder a trauma-informed approach, not only with offenders but also with victims. One concern is the tendency to institutionalise restorative justice with an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness and outcome orientation. The interviewees also perceive a revengeful and retributive attitude in their societies that does not condone restorative measures that seemingly favour offenders. This tendency appears even stronger in societies that have suffered from collaborative trauma and not recovered from it. Interviewees therefore advocate for raising awareness of trauma, the consequences of unhealed trauma and the need to work trauma-informed with all stakeholders, including offenders and the extended, affected community. They also appeal for increased training to be provided for practitioners in TIC and self-care as these areas seem essential to provide safe and beneficial processes for all stakeholders.


Claudia Christen-Schneider
Claudia Alexandra Christen-Schneider is president of the Swiss RJ Forum.

Aaron Pycroft
Aaron Pycroft PhD is Reader in Criminal Justice and Social Complexity at the University of Portsmouth, UK. Contact author: Claudia Alexandra Christen-Schneider at swissrjforum@gmail.com.
Article

Performing restorative justice: facilitator experience of delivery of the Sycamore Tree Programme in a forensic mental health unit

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2021
Keywords restorative justice, sycamore tree programme, ethnography, forensic mental health, self-presentation
Authors Joel Harvey and Gerard Drennan
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice has increasingly been used across the criminal justice system. However, there is limited evidence of its use with service users within forensic mental health settings. This study conducted a focused ethnography in a medium secure unit in the UK to explore the implementation of the Sycamore Tree Programme, a specific restorative justice programme that the Prison Fellowship (PF) facilitates in prisons. This article examines the experience of PF volunteers and National Health Service (NHS) staff who came together to run the programme with the first cohort of eight service users (‘learners’). Focus groups were carried out before and after training with eight facilitators, and six interviews with facilitators were completed after the programme ended. Furthermore, detailed observations were carried over the six-week programme. It was found that the encounter was highly experiential for staff and that the group process generated significant emotion for both the learners and facilitators. A pre-requisite for containing the group’s and the facilitators’ emotions was staff taking a relational and collaborative approach to their work. The findings of this study are discussed within the theoretical framework of ‘the presentation of self in everyday life’ (Goffman, 1959), looking through the lens of the performative self in social relations.


Joel Harvey
Joel Harvey is Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the Department of Law and Criminology, Royal Holloway University of London, UK and Registered Clinical and Forensic Psychologist.

Gerard Drennan
Gerard Drennan is Lead Psychologist – Forensic and Offender Health Pathway, South London, UK and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Contact author: joel.harvey@rhul.ac.uk
Article

Restorative justice in schools: examining participant satisfaction and its correlates

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2021
Keywords restorative justice, school-to-prison-pipeline, satisfaction
Authors Ph.D. John Patrick Walsh, Jaclyn Cwick, Patrick Gerkin e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.


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.

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. Contact author: walshj@gvsu.edu.
Conversations on restorative justice

A talk with Rob White

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Authors Albert Dzur
Author's information

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA. Contact author: awdzur@bgsu.edu.

Tanya Jones
Tanya Jones is a PhD researcher, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom. Contact author: t.w.jones@dundee.ac.uk.
Article

A maximalist approach of restorative justice to address environmental harms and crimes

Analysing the Brumadinho dam collapse in Brazil

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords environmental law, maximalist approach, restorative justice principles and concepts, decision-making process, sanctioning rules
Authors Carlos Frederico Da Silva
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the author analyses court cases arising from the rupture of the mining tailings dam in the city of Brumadinho, Brazil, on 25 January 2019. In a civil lawsuit context, legal professionals recognised damage to people and the environment during hearings involving a judge, prosecutors, lawyers and corporate representatives. The centrality of the victims’ interests and the need for remedial measures prevailed in the agreements signed mainly to provide urgent relief and restore damage to the ecosystem. In the criminal lawsuit dealing with the same facts, there have not yet been acquittals, non-prosecution agreements or convictions. By employing a socio-legal approach to contrast different types of legal reasoning, this article explores the possibilities of restorative responses in civil proceedings and explains the lack of them in criminal justice. In highlighting some characteristics of punishment theories that hinder a possible restorative justice approach, the article offers a critique of a penal system mostly linked to argumentative competition rather than persuasive conflict resolution. The author argues that jurisprudence should address transdisciplinary concepts, such as responsive regulation, restorative efforts, proportionality and individualisation of punishment. The discussion can shed light on the decision-making process to allow environmental restorative justice responses to crimes.


Carlos Frederico Da Silva
Carlos Frederico Braga Da Silva is a PhD researcher associated to the Graduate School of Sociology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and to the Canadian Chair of Legal Traditions and Penal Rationality, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Canada. He also works as a state judge in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Contact author: carlosfrebrasilva@gmail.com.
Article

Environmental justice movements and restorative justice

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords restorative justice, environmental conflicts, environmental justice movements
Authors Angèle Minguet
AbstractAuthor's information

    The worldwide existing environmental conflicts have also given rise to worldwide environmental justice movements. Using a diversity of tools that range from petitions to legal actions, what such movements have often shown is that environmental conflicts rarely find a satisfactory resolution through criminal judicial avenues. Given this reality, the important question then is whether there is a place within environmental justice movements for a restorative justice approach, which would lead to the reparation or restoration of the environment and involve the offenders, the victims and other interested parties in the conflict transformation process. Based on the analysis of environmental conflicts collected by the Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade project (EJOLT), and more specifically on two emblematic environmental conflict cases in Nigeria and in Ecuador, the argument will be made that it is essentially due to the characteristics of environmental conflicts, and due to the fact that they almost never find a satisfactory resolution through traditional judicial avenues, that environmental justice movements ask for a restorative approach, and that restorative justice is a sine qua non condition to truly repair environmental injustices, as long as the worldview and nature of the victims is taken into consideration.


Angèle Minguet
Angèle Minguet is a researcher at the Research Centre in Political Science, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles (CReSPo), Belgium. Contact author: angele.minguet@gmail.com.
Article

Imagining a community that includes non-human beings

The 1990s Moyainaoshi Movement in Minamata, Japan

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords restorative justice, community, environmental damage, spirituality, Japan, the Moyainaoshi Movement
Authors Orika Komatsubara
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article offers a vision of a community that includes non-human beings. After suffering environmental damage, a community is often harmed and confused. Restorative justice may have the potential to intervene in divisions with a community approach. However, though environmental damage affects both human and non-human beings, restorative justice typically concerns itself with human communities. Therefore, through a review of the literature I consider what non-human beings mean for a community, focusing on the Moyainaoshi Movement (MM) in Minamata, Japan, in the 1990s. This movement aimed to reconstruct the community after severe, long-term pollution. First, I examine the motivations of several stakeholders that worked to reconstruct the Minamata community in the 1990s. Second, I clarify the role of non-human beings in the vision of community as practiced by the MM. I find that non-human beings served as symbols to connect human beings within the community. Finally, I conclude that a vision of a community that includes non-human beings can propel community reconstruction in our current political realities, and I reveal that in studying this concept of community in restorative justice, listening to victims’ voices is of paramount importance.


Orika Komatsubara
Orika Komatsubara is working under a Research Fellowship for Young Scientists from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). This study was supported by Grant Number 20J00091. Contact author: orika1982@gmail.com.

Rania Hamad
Rania Hamad is a PhD Candidate in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh, UK researching the causes of hate crime and effective responses.

Gael Cochrane
Gael Cochrane is Learning, Development, and Innovation Lead at Community Justice Scotland, Edinburgh, UK. Contact author: Rania.Hamad@ed.ac.uk.

Tali Gal
Tali Gal is a Senior Lecturer and Head of School of Criminology at the University of Haifa, Israel. Contact author: tali.gal.04@gmail.com.

    The years 2018-2020 saw a number of new international legal instruments and guidelines relating to restorative justice. In 2018, a landmark Recommendation adopted by the Council of Europe and a Resolution by the Organization of American States encouraged its use in their regions. In 2019, the Milquet Report proposed amending a European Union Directive to promote restorative justice as a diversion from court, while in 2020, the European Union adopted a new Victims’ Strategy, and the United Nations published a revised Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes. This article identifies and analyses the principal developments in this new international framework. It demonstrates the growing consensus on the potential applicability of restorative justice for all types of offences, and the emerging recognition that restorative justice should aim to satisfy the needs of all participants. It also explores statements endorsing the use of restorative justice beyond the criminal procedure and advising criminal justice institutions to utilise restorative principles to inform cultural change. The paper concludes that implementing international policies domestically requires justice reform advocates to build strong, trusting relationships, and organise inclusive partnerships, with all those who hold a stake in the development of restorative justice.


Ian D. Marder
Ian D. Marder is a Lecturer in Criminology at the Department of Law of the Maynooth University, Maynooth, Republic of Ireland. Contact author: Ian.Marder@mu.ie.

Gerry Johnstone
Gerry Johnstone is Professor of Law, University of Hull, Hull, UK. Contact author: J.G.Johnstone@hull.ac.uk.

Tim Chapman
Tim Chapman is an independent researcher and trainer and chair of the European Forum for Restorative Justice since 2016. Contact author: info@timchapman.eu.
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