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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.
Annual lecture

Access_open Transforming restorative justice

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2021
Keywords relational theory, transformative justice, systemic injustice
Authors Jennifer J. Llewellyn
AbstractAuthor's information

    From the global pandemic to the Black Lives Matter, the Me Too/Times Up and Indigenous reconciliation and decolonisation movements, the systemic and structural failures of current social institutions around the world have all been brought to our collective consciousness in poignant, painful and urgent ways. The need for fundamental social and systemic transformation is clear. This challenge is central to the work of dealing with the past in countries undergoing transition and in established democracies confronting deep structural inequalities and injustices. Rooted in lessons from the application of restorative justice across these contexts, this article suggests that grounding restorative justice as a relational theory of justice is key to understanding and realising the potential of a restorative approach for transformation. It also explores the implications of this transformative imperative for the growth and development of restorative justice


Jennifer J. Llewellyn
Jennifer Llewellyn is Professor and Chair in Restorative Justice at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Director of the Restorative Research, Innovation and Education Lab. www.restorativelab.ca. Contact author: Jennifer.Llewellyn@Dal.Ca.

Meredith Rossner
Meredith Rossner is Professor of Criminology, Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Miranda Forsyth
Miranda Forsyth is Associate Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Contact author: Meredith.rossner@anu.edu.au

Geri Hubbe
Geri Hubbe (they/them) is a White queer restorative practitioner-scholar, multimodal artist, community organiser, qualified mental health professional and crisis-services advocate for survivors of domestic violence. Geri lives and works in Asheville, NC, located in Southern Appalachia on land stolen by the US government from the Cherokee Nation. Contact author: ghubbe@gmail.com.
Article

Access_open Using restorative justice to rethink the temporality of transition in Chile

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords temporality, transitional justice, restorative justice, Chile, ongoingness, multilayeredness & multidirectionality
Authors Marit de Haan and Tine Destrooper
AbstractAuthor's information

    Assumptions of linear progress and a clean break with the past have long characterised transitional justice interventions. This notion of temporality has increasingly been problematised in transitional justice scholarship and practice. Scholars have argued that a more complex understanding of temporalities is needed that better accommodates the temporal messiness and complexity of transitions, including their ongoingness, multilayeredness and multidirectionality. Existing critiques, however, have not yet resulted in a new conceptual framework for thinking about transitional temporalities. This article builds on insights from the field of restorative justice to develop such a framework. This framework foregrounds longer timelines, multilayered temporalities and temporal ecologies to better reflect reality on the ground and victims’ lived experiences. We argue that restorative justice is a useful starting point to develop such a temporal framework because of its actor-oriented, flexible and interactive nature and proximity to the field of transitional justice. Throughout this article we use the case of Chile to illustrate some of the complex temporal dynamics of transition and to illustrate what a more context-sensitive temporal lens could mean for such cases of unfinished transition.


Marit de Haan
Marit de Haan is a PhD researcher at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium.

Tine Destrooper
Tine Destrooper is Associate Professor of Transitional Justice at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium. Contact author: marit.dehaan@ugent.be.
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.

Claudia Mazzucato
Claudia Mazzucato is Associate Professor of Criminal Law at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy. Contact author: claudia.mazzucato@unicatt.it.
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

Access_open A future agenda for environmental restorative justice?

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords restorative justice, restorative practice, environmental justice, environmental regulation
Authors Miranda Forsyth, Deborah Cleland, Felicity Tepper e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The challenges of developing meaningful environmental regulation to protect communities and the environment have never been greater. Environmental regulators are regularly criticised for failing to act hard and consistently, in turn leading to demands for harsher punishments and more rigorous enforcement. Whilst acknowledging the need for strong enforcement to address wantonly destructive practices threatening communities and ecosystems, we argue that restorative approaches have an important role. This article explores a future agenda for environmental restorative justice through (1) situating it within existing scholarly and practice-based environmental regulation traditions; (2) identifying key elements and (3) raising particular theoretical and practical challenges. Overall, our vision for environmental restorative justice is that its practices can permeate the entire regulatory spectrum, going far beyond restorative justice conferences within enforcement proceedings. We see it as a shared and inclusive vision that seeks to integrate, hybridise and build broader ownership for environmental restorative justice throughout existing regulatory practices and institutions, rather than creating parallel structures or paradigms.


Miranda Forsyth
Miranda Forsyth is Associate Professor at the School of Regulation and Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific in the Australian National University, Australia.

Deborah Cleland
Deborah Cleland is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Regulation and Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific in the Australian National University, Australia.

Felicity Tepper
Felicity Tepper is a Senior Research Officer at the School of Regulation and Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific in the Australian National University, Australia.

Deborah Hollingworth
Deborah Hollingworth is a Principal Solicitor at the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Australia.

Milena Soares
Milena Soares is a public servant at the Técnica de Desenvolvimento e Administração,Brazil.

Alistair Nairn
Alistair Nairn is Senior Engagement Advisor at the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Australia.

Cathy Wilkinson
Cathy Wilkinson is Professor of Practice at Monash Sustainable Development, Australia. Contact author: miranda.forsyth@anu.edu.au.
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

Exploring amenability of a restorative justice approach to address sexual offences

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Restorative justice, sexual abuse, victim-survivor, justice attitudes, gender
Authors Angela Hovey, BJ Rye and Courtney McCarney
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study aimed to explore current attitudes regarding the amenability of a restorative justice approach to addressing harms caused by sexual offences. A web-based survey of a university student sample included a specific narrative response question assessing empathetic responses to stepfather-teen sexual abuse scenarios. Many (78 per cent) participants endorsed a restorative justice approach, a substantial minority (19 per cent) of whom endorsed restorative justice while stipulating retributive justice conditions. Only 22 per cent completely rejected a restorative justice approach. The overarching theme was the dichotomous opinion of restorative justice as either a sufficient (e.g. best option, rehabilitative value) or insufficient (e.g. not enough punishment) response to addressing sexual offences. There was an overall self-reflective openness and willingness to consider a restorative justice approach to address sexual offences.


Angela Hovey
Angela Hovey, PhD, RSW, is an associate professor at the School of Social Work, Lakehead University, Orillia, Canada.

BJ Rye
BJ Rye, PhD, is an associate professor at the Departments of Psychology and Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies, St Jerome's University at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.

Courtney McCarney
Courtney McCarney, MSW, RSW is a graduate of the School of Social Work, Lakehead University, Orillia, Canada. Contact author: Angela Hovey at ahovey@lakeheadu.ca

Miranda Forsyth
Miranda Forsyth is an Associate Professor at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Valerie Braithwaite
Valerie Braithwaite is Professor at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

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

Offenders’ understandings of forgiveness

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Offenders, forgiveness, victim lens, offender lens
Authors Tamera Jenkins
AbstractAuthor's information

    Despite extensive research on victim perceptions of forgiveness comparatively little is known about the meaning offenders attach to forgiveness. Through in-depth interviews with 19 criminal offenders this study sought to lay foundational groundwork regarding offenders’ understandings of forgiveness. Offenders viewed forgiveness through both a ‘victim’ and ‘offender’ lens. From a victim perspective offenders described giving forgiveness as a response that enabled them to ‘let go’ or ‘get over’ personal harms. From an offender perspective receiving forgiveness was defined as being either conditional or unconditional. Conditional forgiveness was related to evidence of positive change in offenders that must occur prior to forgiveness while the essential characteristic of unconditional forgiveness was found to be love. A better understanding of the significance of forgiveness in the lives of criminal offenders has practical implications for clinicians, service providers, and criminal justice professionals involved in the treatment or custodial care of this population.


Tamera Jenkins
Tamera Jenkins, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice of the Griffith University – Mount Gravatt Campus, Brisbane, Australia.
Article

Listening deeply to public perceptions of Restorative Justice

What can researchers and practitioners learn?

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Public perception, media, apophatic listening, online comments, understandings of restorative justice
Authors Dorothy Vaandering and Kristin Reimer
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores public perceptions of restorative justice through the examination of media articles and negative online reader comments surrounding a high-profile incident in a Canadian university in which a restorative process was successfully engaged. Utilising relational discourse analysis, we identify how restorative justice is presented in the media and how that presentation is taken up by the public. Media representations of restorative justice create understandings among the public that are profoundly different from how many restorative justice advocates perceive it. The aim of this article is to examine media representations of restorative justice and how these are received by the public so that we can respond constructively.


Dorothy Vaandering
Dorothy Vaandering, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada.

Kristin Reimer
Kristin Reimer, Ph.D., is a lecturer in Restorative Justice and Relational Pedagogies at the Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Christopher D. Marshall
Christopher Marshall is The Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
Article

Teaching restorative practices through games: an experiential and relational restorative pedagogy

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2019
Keywords restorative pedagogy, games, teaching, experiential learning
Authors Lindsey Pointer and Kathleen McGoey
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues for the use of games as an effective and dynamic way to teach restorative practices. Grounded in an understanding of restorative pedagogy, a paradigm of teaching in alignment with restorative values and principles, as well as experiential learning strategies, this article introduces games as a way for students to experience and more deeply understand restorative practices while building relationships and skills. Personal accounts of the authors about the impact of using games to teach restorative practices in their own communities are also included.


Lindsey Pointer
Lindsey Pointer is a PhD Candidate at Victoria University of Wellington and Creative Director of Aspen Restorative Consulting in Wellington, New Zealand.

Kathleen McGoey
Kathleen McGoey is the Executive Director of Longmont Community Justice Partnership, Longmont, USA.
Article

Keeping complexity alive: restorative and responsive approaches to culture change

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, responsive regulation, relational governance, complexity
Authors Gale Burford
AbstractAuthor's information

    The human services are fraught with history of failure related to grasping oversimplified, across-the-board solutions that are expected to work in all situations for all groups of people. This article reviews some of the long-standing and current challenges for governance of programmes in maintaining cultures that safeguard restorative and responsive standards, principles and values, thereby amplifying and enhancing their centrality to relational engagement within families, groups, communities and organisations. Despite their potential for helping groups of people grapple with the complex dynamics that impact their lives, restorative justice approaches are seen as no less vulnerable to being whittled down to technical routines through practitioner and sponsor colonisation than other practices. This article explores some of the ways culture can work to erode and support the achievement of restorative standards, and why restorative justice and regulation that is responsive to the ongoing experiences of affected persons offers unique paths forward for achieving justice. Included in this exploration are the ways that moral panic and top-down, command-and-control management narrow relational approaches to tackling complex problems and protect interests that reproduce social and economic inequality.


Gale Burford
Gale Burford is Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA. Contact author: gburford@uvm.edu. Disclosure statement: There are no financial conflicts of interest.

Mary E. McNally MSc, DDS, MA
Mary E. McNally, MSc, DDS, MA, is a Professor at Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry in Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada. Contact author: mary.mcnally@dal.ca. Acknowledgement: The author wishes to acknowledge and thank members of the Dalhousie University Dentistry Class of 2015 whose experiences are providing a foundation from which others may learn and benefit.

Jennifer J. Llewellyn
Jennifer J. Llewellyn is the Yogis and Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law and Professor of Law at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

Brenda Morrison
Brenda Morrison is Associate Professor of Criminology and Director of the Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada. Contact author: jennifer.llewellyn@dal.ca. Disclosure Statement: There are no financial conflicts of interest. The authors would like to thank Krystal Glowatski, PhD candidate and research assistant, for proofreading and helping with referencing many of the papers in this Special Issue.
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