Recent Developments of Restorative Justice Philosophy and Practice in Germany

Elmar Weitekamp, University of Tuebingen
Hans-Jergen Kerner, University of Tuebingen

The paper will examine on the one hand the theoretical discussion about restorative justice in Germany and then analyze data on victim-offender mediation collected from 1993 until 1998. While restorative justice philosophy has for a long time been part of the Germany legal culture, the concepts of restorative justice have only been marginally implemented in the German criminal justice system. While it is praised in theory, the only form of restorative justice in practice is victim-offender mediation. The collected data reveal that we experience a constant increase in victim-offender mediation cases in Germany and that most of those cases handled by victim-offender mediation are violent offenses (typically simple and aggravated assaults). However, we are far away to reach the great potentials restorative justice has to offer and new and more innovative concepts such as peace circles and family group conferences are largely unknown in Germany.

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Updated 05/20/2006