Toolkit on Diversion and Alternatives to Detention

Main principles

 
 

Restorative Justice Approach

• Introduction
• 1. What is a 'restorative justice approach'?
• 2. How can a restorative justice approach be applied in practice for diversion & alternatives?
• 3. First World Congress on Restorative Juvenile Justice - Lima, Peru, 4-7 November 2009
• Summary
 
Introduction
Whilst acknowledging that not all diversion and alternatives programmes can, or should, adopt a restorative justice approach, this section will show how a restorative justice approach can be applied in practice to diversion and alternatives. 
 
1. What is a 'restorative justice approach'?
See the toolkit sections on 'restorative justice / definition & discussion' and 'examples of restorative justice'. These sections, and the 'useful diagram'  explore the nature of restorative justice and the potentially strong overlap with diversion and alternatives. 
 
2. How can a restorative justice approach be applied in practice for diversion & alternatives?
Given the benefits of restorative justice for victims/survivors, society and offenders, advocates are promoting a 'maximalist approach' to implementation - i.e. that restorative justice should be used as much as possible in as many situations as possible where it it possible and appropriate. Situations where it is not possible or appropriate include:
     • where the restorative justice approach does not conform to necessary legal safeguards;
     • where a restorative justice approach would not be proportional to the offence (i.e. implementing a full conference where a simple caution would do);
     • where the victim/survivor and/or offender do not consent to a restorative justice approach, even after having been fully informed.

For detailed guidelines on how to implement a restorative justice approach, refer to the 2006 UNODC Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes below. This practical publication is not specific to children (although it includes a short section on this), but the guidance is nonetheless fully applicable. The Handbook includes sections on: types of programmes; principles and safeguards; implementing and operating programmes; the dynamics of interventions; monitoring and evaluation; useful web-based resources; and debates around restorative justice. It also includes a copy of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters which is available to download separately below for ease of reference.

Download: UNODC Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes, 2006 [Pdf 4.03Mb]

Download: UN Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters [Pdf 101kb] 
 
3. First World Congress on Restorative Juvenile Justice - Lima, Peru, 4-7 November 2009
A variety of papers and presentations have been developed specifically on the topic of restorative justice for children for the First World Congress on Restorative Juvenile Justice. The English language documents on theory and practice are available to download from the toolkit section on 'resources' ('By theme' / 'Restorative justice') along with the 'Lima Declaration' - the concluding statement from the Congress.

For ease of reference, the Lima Declaration is also available to download below.
Download: 'Lima Declaration on Restorative Juvenile Justice', November 2009 [Word 78kb]

Congress website: www.congresomundialjjrperu2009.org
 
Summary
Where possible and appropriate - i.e. in situations where legal safeguards (including children's rights) are respected, where the response is proportional and where consent of participants is obtained - restorative justice approaches to diversion and alternatives are to be encouraged. The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters and the UNODC Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes provide detailed guidance on how to implement such an approach. The First World Congress on Restorative Juvenile Justice held in November 2009 is an indication that the movement promoting restorative justice for children in conflict with the law continues to gain momentum.

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