Reimagining Restorative Justice
In recent years, restorative-based interventions have increasingly been viewed as a legitimate, and even superior means of delivering justice. Spurred on by the prospect of achieving better justice though initiatives grounded in restorative principles, restorative programmes have made important innovations to criminal justice systems, domestically, regionally, and internationally. These programmes have varied considerably in terms of their goals and methods, depending on their specific contexts, and on how they have evolved. The result of this rapid but piecemeal development has been that restorative justice practice has outpaced the development of restorative justice theory. This presents an important challenge for restorative justice theory, to evaluate, make sense of, and learn from the innovations of recent years. In this book we take up this challenge by 'reimagining' restorative justice within criminal justice, by providing a new theoretical frame of reference that uses the lessons of experience to better understand how restorative justice interventions can and should operate. Drawing on empowerment theory, as developed in social psychology, our theory offers an alternative and pragmatic view of the inter-relationships between restorative justice and criminal justice. By reconceptualising restorative justice through the core empowering values of 'agency' and 'accountability', we offer a fresh perspective to reimagine the future direction of restorative justice within criminal justice systems.
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