Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation

By John Braithwaite | Go to book overview

occupational health and safety, environmental protection, and nursing home regulation. The restorative justice work has tended to focus on criminal law. In this book the responsive regulatory ideas are translated into arenas such as juvenile bullying and crime generally, and restorative justice is applied to business regulation, the regulatory challenges of sustainable development (chapter 7), peacemaking in international relations (chapter 6), and the transformation of the entire legal system (chapter 8). In short, an integrated theory of restorative justice and responsive regulation is conceived as a worthy pursuit.

The history of this book is that Michael Tonry persuaded me to write a review essay on restorative justice for Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, Vol. 25, published by the University of Chicago Press. When I delivered up an essay that was far too long, he cut it while encouraging me to publish the full essay as a book in his capacity as a series editor with Oxford University Press.

This book is more than my original holistic essay restored to its full glory. Of course it has also been updated as a result of an extraordinary explosion of restorative justice innovation and evaluation research in the three years since I completed the original essay. Chapter 3 argues that the 1999 essay, in light of research completed since, may have committed the Type II error of being excessively cautious over the hypothesis that restorative justice can reduce crime. But I also decided to integrate my work on restorative justice with my work on responsive regulation. One reason was that reviewers of the original essay were critical of some of the material therein—mostly material on restorative and responsive business regulation—for being insufficiently relevant to criminology. While the first half of the book is dominated by what we have learned about restorative justice from the core area of criminal justice, throughout there are many lessons from restorative and responsive business regulation. Moreover, chapters 6 through 8 are completely new attempts to move the ideas onto the challenges of regulation for sustainable economic development, international peacekeeping, and transforming the entire legal system.

It seems to me that the reviewers were mistaken in wanting to limit the focus of the original essay to purely criminal matters. First, there is enormous selectivity and arbitrariness in when we react to regulated phenomena as crime. Second, I believe that regulatory theory delivers superior and more general explanations than criminological theory. Crime is a regulatory challenge, as are bullying in schools, educational development in part, and economic development, environmental protection, and world peace. My deeply held suspicion is that restorative justice has really important things to say about all these challenges. And I try to say them here. It is not that restorative justice has answers to all the world's problems; indeed, a message of this book is that restorative justice is only a modest part of the answer to the questions addressed. However, as an IRA ex-prisoner said in a recent conference I attended on restorative justice in Northern Ireland: “Restorative justice is not just about crime, it is about peace and a way of bringing up our children that is less punitive and more decent. It is a holistic philosophy.” I suspect he is right that restorative justice has something to say to us about how we live our life as we move through all the institutions we encounter.

-viii-

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Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • 1: The Fall and Rise of Restorative Justice 3
  • 2: Responsive Regulation 29
  • 3: Does Restorative Justice Work? 45
  • 4: Theories That Might Explain Why Restorative Justice Works 73
  • 5: Worries About Restorative Justice 137
  • 6: World Peacemaking 169
  • 7: Sustainable Development 211
  • 8: Transforming the Legal System 239
  • References 269
  • Index 297
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