Images of restorative justice theory

The book, jointly edited with  R Mackay, M Bošnjak, J Deklerk, C Pelikan and B van Stokkom, is the product of the Theory Working Group of COST Action A21, a European intergovernmental network for cooperation in research.  It includes sections on Restorative justice and society, Restorative justice and law (with a chapter, ‘Punishment and restorative justice:  an ethical comparison’ by MW, listed under Books and articles), and Restorative justice processes.  

Publisher’s summary:  It provides its readers with contributions by experienced academics and researchers that deepen the understanding of restorative justice from the broad perspective of macro-theories down to a focus on micro dynamics in restorative justice procedures. The position of restorative justice vis-á-vis the law and the criminal justice system is systematically analyzed and discussed. Ideas and positions from the Anglophone academic world are confronted or enriched with the contrasting traditions in political and sociological theory and legal reasoning of Continental Europe. All this makes this volume a novel contribution that will stimulate theoretical thinking and further enquiries and debates about restorative justice.

It is obtainable from bookshops or

ISBN 978-3-86676-021-9

Civilising Criminal Justice: An International Restorative Agenda for Penal Reform

Co-edited with  David Cornwell and John Blad

Civilising Criminal Justice: An International Restorative Agenda for Penal Reform

This wide-ranging book by contributing authors from 12 countries, published in August 2013, examines and questions some fundamental assumptions of criminal justice. When someone commits an act which could fit the definition of a crime, it is not always best to deal with it by criminal prosecution. A historical perspective suggests that restorative processes may be preferable. Judicial and prosecutorial attitudes are explored. Some types of case could be better handled by restorative justice than by a criminal process. For some sexual offences, for example, responsibility could be determined to a civil standard of proof before proceeding to prosecution. Punishment has many drawbacks, including the difficulty in making it proportionate and in the attempt to balance deserts against mercy. It is time to question the behaviourist psychology on which it is based. Other ways of denouncing wrongdoing should be considered, if justice itself is to be ethical. It could be said that criminal justice has become increasingly uncivilised. By using civil law wherever possible, punishment could be kept to a minimum; more could be done to repair the harm caused by offences, and to provide feedback to social and educational policy-makers on pressures towards crime that need to be addressed.

From a philosophical point of view, the use of dialogue is an important part of the restorative response to wrongdoing, not least because it brings the victim into the process. A way to make the system more civilised could be to base it entirely on restorative principles, even for the most serious crimes, and a way is suggested of combining this with the need for denunciation and public protection. Victim-offender mediation can be appropriate even (or especially) for violent crimes. Different levels of implementation in different countries such as Germany, France and Australia are discussed; in Norway and Finland mediation is provided at municipal level nationwide, and in the latter country it has been part of a deliberate strategy of reducing the prison population, with no adverse effect on the crime rate. The book suggests practical ways of designing a system based on dialogue, repairing harm, minimum intervention, and not making things worse, as sound principles for a civilised justice system.

Order from bookshops, ISBN 9781904380047

or:   Waterside Press ,Sherfield Gables, Sherfield-on-Loddon, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 0JG, UK.

Telephone +44 (0)1256 882250;  Fax +44 (0)1256 883987


 Editorial preface
Introduction – The Editors
PART I – Civilising Procedure
Chapter One – Justice and Punishment: Myths, Mercy and Anglo-Saxon Attitudes
David Cornwell
Chapter Two – Restorative Justice as a Procedural Revolution: Some Lessons from the Adversary System – F.W.M. (Fred) McElrea
Chapter Three – Retribution and/or Restoration? The Purpose of our Justice System through the Lens of Judges and Prosecutors – Borbála Fellegi
Chapter Four – Crime and Justice: A Shift in Perspective Louis Blom-Cooper
Chapter Five – Civilising Civil Justice  Ann Skelton
Chapter Six – Seriousness: A Disproportionate Construction and Application?
Christine Piper and Susan Easton
PART II – Civilising Theory
Chapter Seven – Restorative Justice Amongst Other Strategies  John Blad
Chapter Eight – Remorse and Facilitating Responsibility: Rationales of Personal Mitigation in Sentencing – Bas Van Stokkom
Chapter Nine – To Punish or to Restore? A False Alternative
Serge Gutwirth and Paul De Hert
Chapter Ten – Dialogical Justice : Philosophical Considerations for Re-thinking the Reaction to Crime in a Restorative Way – Federico Reggio
Chapter Eleven – Making Criminal Justice More Civilised Through Restorative Justice  Lode Walgrave
PART III – Civilising Practice
Chapter Twelve – Could a Restorative System of Justice be more Civilised than a Punitive One? – Martin Wright
Chapter Thirteen – Restorative Justice Beyond: Mediation (not only) in Criminal Conflicts – Thomas Trenczek
Chapter Fourteen – Restorative Justice and Penal Mediation: The French Exception
Jean-Pierre Bonafé-Schmitt
Chapter Fifteen – Positioning the Offender in a Restorative Framework: Potential Dialogues and Forced Conversations – Claire Spivakovsky
Chapter Sixteen – Development of Restorative Justice Practices in Norway
Per Andersen
Chapter Seventeen – Downsizing the Use of Imprisonment in Finland
Tapio Lappi-Seppälä
Chapter Eighteen – Conclusions  David Cornwell, John Blad and Martin Wright


Towards a restorative society: a problem-solving response to harm

Suggests immediate reforms of the failing criminal justice system, and then a transformation of its philosophy.  It is suggested that the restorative process is well suited to feedback; there should be a channel by which this could be used to plan social policies.  To pay for programmes to replace prisons, ‘transferable funding’ is proposed, followed by a three-stage restorative system for less serious cases, more serious ones, and those where for any reason a restorative process was not possible and compulsory measures had to be used – but the measures imposed would still be constructive ones.

Restoring respect for justice: a symposium.

 2nd ed. with foreword by Howard Zehr, Winchester: Waterside Press, 2008.

Obtainable from bookshops or

(First edition (1999) published in Polish as Przywracając szacunek sprawiedliwości. Warszawa: Polskie Centrum Mediacji, Polskie Stowarzyszenie Edukacji Prawnej, Translated by Małgorzata Marcinkowska. Polskie Towarzystwo Krymonologiczne im. prof. Stanislawa Batawii, 2005; and in Russian as Восстановительноеправосудиепутьксправедливости: симпозиум. Translated byAnton Solomarskii and Irina Khimchak. Kyiv: Izdatel’ Zakharenko V.A. 2007.)