Remedi: a critical evaluation of restorative justice in the real world

Peacock, Louise (2014) Remedi: a critical evaluation of restorative justice in the real world. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    In the last thirty years, restorative justice - seen by many as a more humanistic approach to dealing with the harm caused by a crime - has stormed onto criminological and political agendas. A new and exciting means of responding to crime or a return to historic means of conflict resolution depending on your point of view, it is now a rare criminal justice textbook or policy document which does not contain reference to restorative approaches. But what exactly is “restorative justice” and how successful is it as response to crime? The Ministry of Justice frequently represents the outcomes of restorative justice quantitatively, with the approach quickly finding itself in the midst of the long-running “What Works?” debate. Reviewing previous literature it is apparent that many studies in this area have largely focussed on victim-satisfaction and offender reconviction rates following restorative justice. Little work has been undertaken to understand those who deliver restorative justice – what drives them, how they qualify “success” and what “being restorative” means to them.
    Quantitative measurement is difficult to reconcile with the qualitative and value-driven nature of restorative justice delivery. This research therefore comprises ten semi-structured interviews with practitioners at the South Yorkshire-based restorative justice provider Remedi UK. Remedi delivers restorative interventions with adult and youth offenders, in the case of youths sometimes as a diversion from court proceedings, but on the most part following traditional criminal prosecution and sentence. Various theorists have produced models of the “ideal” restorative system and a comparison as to the correlation between these frameworks and “real-life” restorative justice is timely.
    The research shows a number of differences between the theoretical vision of a fully restorative system and the service that is delivered by Remedi. These differences largely stem from the participant-led process Remedi practitioners hold as sacrosanct which does not reconcile with pre-determined “non-negotiables”. There are also clear differences in the role theory envisages for the community and the extent to which this happens in day-to-day restorative justice delivery. The questions that this research raises for further debate are firstly whether in a practice “owned” by the participants there is any value in an external measurement of restorativeness or whether it’s whatever the particular parties want it to be. Secondly, whether restorative justice providers must seek greater community involvement for their service to be considered fully restorative, or whether in fact the role of the community is over-stated given the marked differences between modern-day culture and the indigenous populations where restorative justice began.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2015 10:42
    Last Modified: 06 Feb 2015 10:42

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