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Governmental Documents

As governments have adopted restorative justice programmes, some have created study commissions and other bodies to consider how to incorporate them in their justice systems.

A review of the Youth Justice System in Northern Ireland
from the report by the Department of Justice Northern Ireland: One of the most positive developments to have arisen out of Northern Ireland’s recent history is the expansion of rich and varied restorative practices. Restorative approaches have been used to respond to offending and anti-social behaviour, family disputes, disruptive behaviour in schools and children’s homes and in helping prisoners reintegrate back into their communities. Early teething problems have been largely overcome and professional practice in restorative justice in Northern Ireland is now internationally recognised.
Crispin Blunt on supporting victims and witnesses
In this 15 minute video from the Victim and Witnesses: Improving practice and provision conference held in London on 20 October 2010, Crispin Blunt outlines the government's plans to provide more support for victims and witnesses. He includes restorative justice services as a part of the recommendations.
New Zealand Ministry of Justice. Summary of Submissions: Draft Principles of Best Practice for Restorative Justice Processes in the Criminal Court
This report summarises the feedback received by the Ministry of Justice on draft principles of best practice for the use of restorative justice processes in the criminal courts. In May 2003, draft principles were sent to approximately 100 stakeholders, including restorative justice providers, members of the judiciary, government departments, and relevant non-government organisations such as Victim Support and the National Network of Stopping Violence Services. 40 submissions were received. (excerpt)
Law Commission of New Zealand. Delivering Justice For All: A Vision for New Zealand Courts and Tribunals
The Law Commission was invited by the Government to undertake a review of the structure and operation of all state-based adjudicative bodies in New Zealand, including all courts and tribunals except the top tier of the appellate system.... The commission was directed to "have particular regard to its statutory obligations to take account of te ao Maori (the Maori dimension) and the multi-cultural character of New Zealand society in this exercise".... Includes recommendations for reform from the Law Commission to the Government in light of submissions, consultations and research. (excerpt)
King, Andrea. Discussion Paper: Draft Principles of Best Practice for Restorative Justice Processes in the Criminal Court
New Zealand's program of restorative justice is at a significant stage of development. As such, this publication offers the principles of best practice in the field in an attempt to help frame policy for restorative justice processes within the criminal justice system. Not only do these principles of best practice provide guidelines about the use of restorative justice, they also protect the flexibility of the restorative justice process. The principles are drafted to be applied to a variety of restorative justice models operating throughout New Zealand. They are targeted for use in the criminal court for pre-sentence purposes, and do not apply to post-sentencing options. The discussion paper provides a general understanding of what restorative justice means and then, beginning in part 2, drafts the principles of best practices. These principles include elements related to the referral of cases, participants, providers and facilities, conferences, confidentiality and privacy, and cultural issues, to name a few. Critical issues are explored in part 3 and include discussions of type of offenses, proportionality, family violence, sexual violence, and children and young people. Finally, part 4 discusses how to apply these principles to practice within the criminal justice system. Relevant questions to consider are explored. The glossary defines terms and the notes section contains a questionnaire designed to facilitate discussion about the principles of best practice. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Home Office. Restorative Justice: the Government's Strategy
The British Government views restorative justice as a strategy for bringing victims and offenders into constructive contact that will bring both healing to the victim and accountability to the offender. The strategy for implementing restorative justice has two elements. The first element involves building high-quality restorative justice practices at all stages of the criminal justice system. This will be done by mandating restorative cautioning by the police; conducting a pilot test of restorative justice as a diversion from prosecution; making reparation a purpose of sentencing; developing action plans to improve the delivery of restorative justice and reparation by the Prison and Probation Services; building on existing progress in restorative justice in the Youth Justice System to assist its incorporation into the adult criminal justice system; increasing the understanding of restorative justice among criminal justice professionals and the general public; and developing a consistent approach to effective restorative justice practice, training and accreditation for restorative justice practitioners, and enabling information sharing among agencies. The second element of the strategy will be to develop an understanding of where restorative justice works best and how it can be fully integrated into the criminal justice system in the long term through further research and the development of policy on key issues related to mainstreaming restorative justice in the criminal justice system. Appended summary of the work plan for implementing the restorative justice strategy. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission . Restorative justice is viable prison alternative
One of the charges of the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission is to explore real alternatives to imprisonment and report those findings to the Governor and General Assembly. This is a research piece on restorative and reparative justice researched and written for the Commission’s 2005 report. (excerpt)
Kittayarak, Kittipong. Restorative Justice in Thailand
In Thailand, like in many other Asian countries, restorative justice is not a new approach but a familiar concept well entrenched in the Thai traditions and culture. Many elements of restorative justice still remain in the traditional way of communal justice in some rural areas. With such solid background in the Thai culture and increasing problems resulted from the shortcomings of conventional criminal justice, it is not surprising to see a growing interest of restorative justice in Thailand. In my presentation, I will examine the experience of Thailand in implementing restorative justice to the Thai criminal justice process. Although restorative justice has been reintroduced in Thailand only recently, and an attempt for its implementation is only in the beginning stage, restorative justice has been very well received by the criminal justice communities and the public. There are also many indications that it is likely to be adopted as a viable alternative to the formal criminal justice process in various types of offenses. (excerpt)
Daubney, David. Establishing a Framework for the Use of Restorative Justice in Criminal Matters in Canada
The Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General, which I had the honour of chairing, began its review of sentencing, conditional release and related aspects of the correctional system in the spring of 1987, about the time a protracted and difficult national debate on capital punishment was coming to an end. Many of the issues raised in the House of Commons and across the country during that debate went beyond the question of capital punishment. They demonstrated that public confidence in many aspects of our criminal justice system was low. Many Canadians felt that they were not being fully protected and that crime was out of control. The Committee believed that this public perception, whether well-founded or not, had to be addressed and the issues raised by it be faced. The Committee undertook this study partly as a result of this sense of public unease. (excerpt)
Criminal Justice System (England). ‘Compensation & Support for Victims of Crime’: Summary of Responses to a Home Office Consultation Paper
The consultation document and partial regulatory impact assessment was sent to over 150 interested organisations, key stake-holders, and individuals. These included representatives of victims’ groups, the police, transport sector, alcohol industry, and other government departments. The consultation document was also made available on the Home Office website. During the consultation period we held seminars for voluntary organisations, and met with representatives of the police, retail sector, motorists groups, as well as with members of other government departments. A total of 106 replies were received during the 12 week period of consultation, and 1,781 users opened the consultation paper from the Home Office website during the same period. The breakdown of respondents by category can be seen in Table 2. All respondents were asked if they were content for their views to be made public, and a full set of these responses is available from the contact point listed below in section 1.7. We are grateful for all the responses received. This paper tries to reflect the views offered, but inevitably, it is not possible to describe all the responses in detail. (excerpt)
Home Office. Iawndal a Chefnogaeth I Ddioddefwyr Troseddau: Papur ymgynghorol ar gynigion i ddiwygio’r Cynllun Digolledu am Niweidiau Troseddol a chynnig rhagor o amrywiaeth o gefnogaeth i ddioddefwyr troseddau
Rhaid i ni ganoli mwy o gefnogaeth ar y dioddefwyr i’w helpu i oresgyn y trawma a’r boen meddwl a ddioddefwyd, ac i ennyn eu hyder yn y system cyfiawnder troseddol. Mae hyn yn golygu, nid yn unig darparu iawndal ariannol, ond gwybodaeth, cyngor a chefnogaeth ymarferol. Mae’r argymhellion yn y papur hwn yn cyd-fynd ag ystod o weithgareddau ar draws y sectorau statudol a gwirfoddol i gefnogi dioddefwyr troseddau ac adeiladu ar y newidiadau yn y Ddeddf Cyfiawnder Troseddol i roi dioddefwyr yng nghanol y system cyfiawnder troseddol. Mae’r strategaeth Cyfiawnder Adferol a gyhoeddwyd yng Ngorffennaf 2003 yn anelu i ymdrin ag ail-droseddu ond hefyd i gynnig ffyrdd newydd o gynnig ateb i ddioddefwyr.Yr haf diwethaf fe gyhoeddwyd A New Deal for Victims and Witnesses – ein Strategaeth Genedlaethol sy’n nodi ein gweledigaeth ar gyfer ymagwedd gydlynol tuag at gefnogi dioddefwyr a thystion yn y system cyfiawnder troseddol a thu hwnt. Rydym am i iawndal i ddioddefwyr gael ei dargedu yn y ffordd iawn, ac iddo ddod o’r ffynonellau mwyaf addas. Credwn y dylai’r argymhellion a nodir yn y papur ymgynghorol hwn helpu i gyflawni hynny. (excerpt)
Home Office. Compensation and Support for Victims of Crime: A consultation paper on proposals to amend the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and provide a wider range of support for victims of crime
We need to focus more support on victims to help them overcome trauma and distress suffered, and to build their confidence in the criminal justice system. This means not only providing financial compensation, but information, advice and practical support. The proposals in this paper complement a range of activity across the statutory and voluntary sectors to support victims of crime and build on the changes in the Criminal Justice Act to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system. The Restorative Justice strategy published in July 2003 aims not only to tackle reoffending but also to offer new ways of providing resolution for victims. Last summer we published A New Deal for Victims and Witnesses – our National Strategy which sets out our vision for a co-ordinated approach to supporting victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system and beyond. We want compensation to victims to be targeted in the right way, and to come from the most appropriate sources.We believe that the proposals set out in this consultation paper should help us achieve that. (excerpt)
Ministero della Giustizia. La Mediazione penale e la giustizia riparativa
La giustizia riparativa può essere definita come un modello di giustizia che coinvolge la vittima, il reo e la comunità nella ricerca di soluzioni agli effetti del conflitto generato dal fatto delittuoso, allo scopo di promuovere lariparazione del danno, la riconciliazione tra le parti e il rafforzamento del senso di sicurezza collettivo. La sfida che la giustizia riparativa lancia, alle soglie del XXI secolo, è quella di cercare di superare la logica del castigo muovendo da una lettura relazionale del fenomeno criminoso, inteso primariamente come un conflitto che provoca la rottura di aspettative sociali simbolicamente condivise. Il reato non dovrebbe più essere considerato soltanto un illecito commesso contro la società, o come un comportamento che incrina l'ordine costituito - e che richiede una pena da espiare -, bensì come una condotta intrinsecamente dannosa e offensiva, che può provocare alle vittime privazioni, sofferenze, dolore e persino la morte, e che richiede, da parte del reo, principalmente l'attivazione di forme di riparazione del danno provocato. (estratto) (excerpt)
Thames Valley Police. Crime Reduction Strategy 2000/2005
Thames Valley Police is well positioned to implement this Strategy. We have been working in partnership with local authorities and other agencies for some time and so the framework is already in place to develop the Crime and Disorder Act and reduce crime through partnership. We have been the leading Force in terms of innovative ideas for social crime reduction. The competing demands on our officers in terms of abstractions for public order events are now over and we are determined to improve our detection rate. All of those factors will combine to see us reduce crime over the next five years. (excerpt)
South African Law Commission. Alternative dispute resolution
The South African Law Commission, established by the South African Law Commission Act (1973), undertakes research to study and investigate all areas of law in order to make recommendations for the development, improvement, modernization, and reform of law in South Africa. This document consists of an issue paper prepared by the Commission to elicit responses and serve as a basis for the Commission’s deliberations on alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Sections of the paper cover the origins of the Commission’s consideration of ADR; a description of the nature of ADR and types of ADR; specific issues with respect to ADR (the role of ADR in civil practice, and family mediation); and recommendations for the use of ADR in South Africa.
New Zealand Ministry of Justice. Restorative Justice: The Public Submissions
This document is an analysis of submissions received by the Ministry on restorative justice. The analysis identifies key themes and responses to specific issues, and also considers perspectives in relation to Mäori, Pacific peoples and victims. Overview of submissions. One hundred and thirteen submissions representing diverse interests were received.The views represented ranged from being highly supportive of to highly critical of the idea. Overall, the submissions were supportive of restorative justice. Opposition to restorative justice. Nine submissions were strongly opposed to restorative justice. Reasons included a view that it was too lenient, concern about the return of serious offenders to the community, a belief that it would not improve the situation for victims and the need for criminal justice processes to provide general deterrence. (excerpt)
The Audit Commission. A review of the reformed youth justice system: Youth justice 2004
The Audit Commission is an independent agency responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently, and effectively to provide high-quality local and national services for the public in the areas of local government, housing, health, and criminal justice. This document was published by the Audit Commission in 2004 for local authorities and the National Health Service in England & Wales. The report reviews the youth justice system in England & Wales following a relatively recent and radical overhaul of it. This reform stems from earlier reviews of youth justice in England and Wales by the Audit Commission, as well as from legislative changes made nationally in the youth justice system in the latter half of the 1990s, in particular the creation of a national Youth Justice Board and of multi-agency Youth Offending Teams. This 2004 review of the reforms looks at the current state of youth crime in England and Wales, systems for bringing young people to justice, management of Youth Offending Teams, and delivery of services to prevent and reduce youth offending. A number of appendices cover legislative reform of the youth justice system, Youth Justice Board targets for Youth Offending Teams, research methodology, community and custodial sentences, statistical analysis, and a glossary and references.
Home Office. Restorative justice: the Government’s Strategy - Responses to the consultation document
In July 2003 the British government published Restorative Justice: The Government’s Strategy. This consultation document generated many responses, coming from a wide range of criminal justice agencies, voluntary organizations, and individuals. This publication summarizes the many responses and gives an update on the government’s strategy. Four overarching themes emerged from the responses: (1) the need for careful implementation of restorative justice; (2) the implication of cultural change for the criminal justice system with respect to restorative justice; (3) the partnership role of voluntary and statutory agencies; and (4) the necessity of public understanding and acceptance of restorative justice. The document itself provides a description of the government’s restorative justice strategy, a summary of consultation responses, and annexes with lists of respondents, consultation questions, and examples of good practice on data sharing.
Correctional Service of Canada. Corrections in the 21st Century
As with most everything in modern life, the field of corrections does not stand still but changes over time. This document represents the Correctional Service of Canada’s attempt to look ahead and anticipate significant changes, to the extend that can be done, in order to plan for them and to operate appropriately in terms of policies and practices. Some of those anticipated changes include legislative revision, the demographics of the general population, shifting crime patterns, composition of the incarcerated population, health and behavioral characteristics of that population, new technologies and new concepts of governance and service delivery, and evolving public attitudes towards criminal justice issues. More specifically, the major topics covered in the document are these: crime reporting and the incarceration rate; drugs; initiatives for legislative change; technological advances; offender health; risk assessment; privatization; organized crime; victims; international tribunals; community corrections; and restorative justice. To a significant degree, the aim of the document is to stimulate discussion on the implications these trends may pose for the Correctional Service and other federal departments in Canada.
Law Commission of Canada. Minister’s Reference on Institutional Child Abuse: Discussion Paper.
Established in 1997 by Act of Parliament in Canada, the Law Commission of Canada is an independent federal law reform agency. The Commission provides advice to Parliament on reforming and modernizing Canada’s laws. In recent years the issue of child abuse has gained considerable public attention. This includes child abuse in institutions where children were placed for their education, welfare, rehabilitation, or even protection. In late 1997 the federal Minister of Justice asked the Law Commission of Canada to examine the matter of abuse in institutions. Specifically, the Commission examined processes for addressing the harms caused by abuse of children in government-run, government-funded, or government sponsored institutions. The Commission’s report identifies the needs of survivors of institutional child abuse, approaches to redress the harms, and ways to begin to provide redress for survivors.

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