Edited by Paul Crosland and Marian Liebmann.
In the introduction to this collection of case studies about
restorative justice, the editors explain that the book is a
response to the flawed notion that only certain offences are
suitable for this kind of intervention.
The 40 case studies presented are intended to demonstrate that
restorative justice can succeed in a wide range of circumstances
and needs only an identifiable “victim” and “offender” (loosely
defined) to be of potential value. The point is underlined by
organising the cases according to different stages in the criminal
justice process, from formal reprimand to post-custody.
These arguments are born out by the case studies, many of which are
a tribute to the skill and imagination required in bringing
protagonists in a dispute together and forging a mutually
satisfactory resolution. This said, the catalogue of success
stories and the slightly evangelical tone – “many tears were shed”,
“the children had been delighted with their gifts” – occasionally
make one yearn for a more sceptical assessment of the restorative
powers of mediation.
Nevertheless, the book is a useful resource for those thinking
about how and when restorative justice interventions can be
David Porteous is senior lecturer incriminology, Middlesex