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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.

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.

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA.
Annual lecture

Access_open Restorative justice and criminal justice: limits and possibilities for Brazil and Latin America

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Justice restorative, criminal justice, punishment, Brazil, Latin America
Authors Vera Regina Pereira de Andrade
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is based on the 2017 RJIJ annual lecture and seeks to examine the development of the restorative justice movement within the judiciary in Brazil (‘judicial restorative justice’) in the last decade or so (2005-2017). The focus is on its relation to penal justice, listing the main possibilities and challenges in the Latin American context. The main question I wish to address is how does restorative justice, being led by the judiciary in Brazil, look like? When, where, how and under which theoretical and methodological angles is it being developed? What are the human and material resources being used? How can the relationship between restorative justice and the current Brazilian criminal justice system be understood? My hypothesis is that judicial restorative justice in Brazil is going through a process of expansion and development, framing a paradigm that is under construction and in which, despite the possibilities of challenging and transforming the current justice system, it has been nevertheless colonised by this same justice system. Therefore, restorative justice is being left to deal with low-level crimes and facing structural and conjectural limits to the concretisation of its objectives. In addition, the field in Brazil is hit by a structural lack of dialogue with other Latin American countries, which results in a mutual impoverishment of sorts, as the ‘restorativism’ currently experienced, hither and thither, is heated up by the intersection of emancipatory principles and values.


Vera Regina Pereira de Andrade
Vera Regina Pereira de Andrade is Emeritus Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil. Contact author: vrpandrade@hotmail.com.
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