1st Edition

Institutionalizing Restorative Justice

Edited By Ivo Aertsen, Tom Daems, Luc Robert Copyright 2006
    336 Pages
    by Willan

    336 Pages
    by Willan

    This new book aims to explore the key issues and debates surrounding the question of the incorporation and institutionalisation of restorative justice within existing penal and criminal justice systems, an increasingly pressing issue given the rapid spread of restorative justice worldwide at both national and international levels. In doing so it aims to build bridges between those concerned with the practical institutionalisation of restorative justice on the one hand, and those engaged in more theoretical aspects of penal development and analysis on the other. It offers conceptual tools and a theoretical framework to help make sense of these developments, reflecting expertise drawn from analysis of developments in Europe, North America and Australasia.

    Introduction  1. The prospect for institutionalization of restorative justice initiatives in western countries, Michael Tonroy  2. The vital context of restorative justice, Hans Boutellier  3. Beyond evangelical criminology: the meaning and significance of restorative justice, John Pratt  4. The intermediate position of restorative justice: the case of Belgium, Ivo Aertsen  5. Institutionalizing restorative justice? Transforming criminal justice? A critical view of the Netherlands, John Blad  6. Institutionalizing restorative justice in a cold, punitive climate, Adam Crawford  7. The French phantoms of restorative justice: the institutionalization of 'penal mediation', Jaques Faget  8. The institutionalization of restorative justice in Canada: effective reform or limited and limiting add-on?, Kent Roach  9. The institutionalization of principles in restorative justice - a case study from the UK, Robert E Mackay  10. Risk and restorative justice: governing through the democratic minimization of harms, Pat O'Malley  11. Reintegrative shaming and restorative justice: reconciliation or divorces?, Roger Matthews  12. Balancing the ethical and political: normative reflections on the institutionalization of restorative justice, Barbara Hudson  13. Epilogue, Ivo Aertsen, Tom Daems and Luc Robert


    Ivo Aertsen is Professor of Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, Catholic University of Leuven.

    Tom Daems is a Lecturer in Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, Catholic University of Leuven.

    Luc Robert is a Lecturer in Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, Catholic University of Leuven.

    Debate regarding Restorative Justice (RJ) theory as well as the practical application of RJ programs remains. While both theoretical and applied issues are imperative for RJ success, Institutionalizing Restorative Justice explores the more theoretical aspects connected to the RJ debate. Editors Aertsen, Daems and Robert’s grouping of thought provoking RJ essays examine a variety of social, political and historical elements that contribute to the current shaping of RJ programs and their practice in modern criminal justice systems. The books’ introduction clearly states the purpose of Institutionalizing Restorative Justice as twofold. First, it “…is not a practical manual for those who want to further the agenda of institutionalization” (xiv). Second, it is an attempt to bridge the debate between those creating new crime prevention strategies in the penal system and those interpreting the function of prevention strategies in the penal system. While most chapters explore the RJ milieu from a somewhat Eurocentric perspective, the contributing authors' field expertise and experience is evidenced by their robust examination of penal change influenced by the unfolding of historical and political events. So, does the book meet its objectives? Certainly, it is not a practical manual on how to do RJ; furthermore, while it does not present new RJ debate Institutionalizing Restorative Justice does provide a convenient repository showcasing the continuum of concern that persists for RJ. In brief, the book is a divided into a descriptive triad of (1) the penal landscape, (2) RJ in specific penal systems and (3) RJ theoretical concerns. Chapters one through three explore social and political contexts as well as existing constructs on which RJ must operate. Tonry, Boutellier and Pratt’s contributions discuss current notions of crime and punishment as well as penal policy trends ranging from (1) identifying initiatives that may change the RJ landscape, (2) understanding security politics and (3) describing how social development may impact RJ trends. These chapters summarize that “…penal policies are the products of political decisions…” (p 23) as well as explore what “…a more expressive form of justice…” might be “…telling us about the broader pattern of social development…and what the implications of this might be for current trends in RJ…” (p 45). Moving into the meat of the book, the central chapters focus on the processes of institutionalizing RJ in Belgium, the Netherlands, England and Wales, France and Canada. Aertsen, Blad, Crawford, Faget and Roach rely on their country’s historical, political and cultural perspectives to discuss the institutionalization of RJ and how RJ might secure firmer footing. Discussions vary from concepts of internalizing institutionalization to lay and victim involvement in RJ to the institutionalizing of RJ at key points (i.e., sentencing). Following the principle chapters, chapter nine communicates the undertaking of revising the Standards for Restorative Justice, which provides the reader a thumbnail of debated hot topic RJ issues. This transitional chapter moves the reader into the final chapters, which contain more theoretical considerations pertinent to RJ. Progressing from historical penal systems to current penal systems, the final chapters tackle “…how risk is deployed within a specific political environment” (p 219), how “the marriage of the reintegrative shaming thesis and restorative justice is on the rocks” (p 257) and the “…ideal moment of restorative justice as a replacement discourse…” (p263). Generally speaking, Institutionalizing Restorative Justice’s discourse on the intersect of the criminal justice system and RJ and, possibly where it is headed, is its strength. Looking to the future, the book asks how RJ will function in a system that has, for so long, required mandatory obligation for law violation thus illustrating the cumbersome environment in which RJ seeks to operate. To summarize the RJ institutionalization process, Hudson’s “…essential point - as with most questions of criminal justice – is the balance between the ethical and the political” (p 278). KIM de BEUS, Phoenix, AZ