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NCJ Number: 204288 Find in a Library
Title: Evaluating the Practice of Restorative Justice: The Case of Family Group Conferencing (From Repositioning Restorative Justice, P 121-135, 2003, Lode Walgrave, ed., -- See NCJ-204284)
Author(s): Nathan Harris
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Case Study
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter identifies four procedural aims of the restorative intervention of family group conferencing and puts forth a model for evaluating restorative practices.
Abstract: Despite the fact that restorative justice has become a popular alternative to traditional justice routes, scant empirical research has examined the dynamics of restorative interventions to explain how and why they are effective. As such, this article offers a starting point for evaluations of restorative practices by identifying four main goals of the restorative practice of family group conferencing. Conferences as a restorative justice technique became popular in New Zealand and rapidly spread around the world. Conferencing involves convening a meeting of people who have been affected by an offense; usually the victim and their supporters, the offender and their supporters, and a facilitator. Although the specific process varies, generally the offender explains what occurred, the victim tells their side of the story, and the supporters of the victim and the offender discuss the consequences of the offense, after which a formal agreement is entered into that includes a plan to resolve outstanding issues. The author proposes that there are four main procedural aims of the practice of conferencing: empowerment, restoration, reintegration, and emotional resolution. Conferencing aims to empower all those affected by an offense by giving them voice and allowing them to be part of the resolution of the offense. Restoration is the attempt to repair the harm created by an offense. Reintegration is based on reintegrative shaming theory which posits that a critical factor in explaining the effectiveness of criminal justice interventions is how disapproval of offending is expressed. Reintegrative shaming attempts to reduce recidivism by distinguishing between the offender and the offense and resolving the conflict through forgiveness. Finally, emotional resolution is the process of addressing the emotional issues that result from an offense. After these four procedural aims are discussed, the author proposes a model for the evaluation of restorative practices. The procedural aims of conferencing were identified as a standard against which to measure conferencing practices. Thus, evaluations of restorative interventions should use the four procedural aims as criteria, with the addition of two more criteria: (1) respect for procedural and human rights and (2) achievement of a satisfactory outcome. Evaluations of restorative practices should help clarify the important components of restorative justice. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Criminal justice program evaluation; Restorative Justice
Index Term(s): Evaluation criteria; Evaluation measures; Family conferencing
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