Restorative Justice and Correction Institutions: A Case Study of Applying a Restorative Justice Filter to Decision Making

Gary N. Keveles, University of Wisconsin Superior

Restorative justice is an approach to justice that is interested in repairing the harms caused by crime. Whereas criminal justice is offender driven, the focus of restorative justice is on victims, offenders and communities. This alternative paradigm is interested in "making things right" by healing victims, offenders and communities as well as holding offenders accountability to make amends and to develop prosocial competency skills. Restorative justice is increasing being used by police, the courts, and community corrections in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Western Europe. Its use in institutional corrections, however, has been limited. This research reports on the efforts of a key group of staff in a medium security prison to envision, develop and implement a restorative justice filter in decision making which affects victims, offenders and comunities both within and outside of the institutions. The presentation focuses on the difficulties of instituting such a change as well as the implications for its use in other correctional systems.

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Updated 05/20/2006