Essay on Restorative Justice: A New Paradigm or a Complementary Model

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To what extent has the theory of restorative justice been integrated into Youth Justice practice in England and Wales? Has this gone far enough?

The perception by many involved in the justice system in general, and youth justice in particular, is that the present model of punitive retributive justice, often involving incarceration does not work. Indeed, it may be compounding an already huge social problem. This realisation has lead many to look for alternative systems. At present there is a considerable momentum building that advocates the use of a restorative justice model. Marshall has defined restorative justice as a process whereby parties with a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve how to deal with the aftermath of
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The Youth Justice Board oversees the Youth Justice system in England and Wales; it has promoted restorative justice since 2001. It has stated that it wishes to broaden deepen and extend the practice of restorative justice within the youth justice system so that the system is - more victim based, - more young people who offend are held to account, - more young people learn about the consequences of their actions and make reparations, - more young people choose not to re-offend.
This, it believes, will also lead to continued improvement of restorative practices, improve referral orders and youth panels, promote restorative justice in the secure estate and develop a coherent long-term restorative justice policy. (YJB, 2006)
There have been 11 pilot areas chosen to roll out restorative practices within England and Wales. Some, such as The Thames Valley have been in existence for a substantial period of time others are relatively new to the process. (Mirsky, 2009). Some have quite ambitious stated aims such as Hull, which has the desire to be a ’Restorative City’. (Faulkner, 2009). One other area within the UK does deserve a special mention, Northern Ireland. It has made the process of restorative justice central to the process of societal change for what is hoped to be a post-conflict dynamic. It is obvious that many of these changes come from the desire for wider conflict resolution, nonetheless the early feedback is