Restorative Justice - Juvenile Offenders

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The general disillusion with the present punishment-based and rehabilitative approaches to crime control has created a political climate ripe for reform. A new move based on the premise of accountability and remedial has great appeal. While restorative justice seems to guarantee a distinct third alternative, the imprecise use of the emerging "vocabulary of restoration" has created as much confusion as clarity about the fundamental concepts of the new paradigm. Restorative justice has come to mean all things to all people. We agree with Walgrave and Bazemore: "A coherent definition and vision should serve as a unifying focus for reflection and experimentation among practitioners and scientists, and should inform policy makers and the public about what restorative justice is and is not" (Bazemore and Walgrave, 1999a, p. 46).

Restorative justice, as a practice, has a history older than state justice, yet the paradigm of restorative justice has only recently begun to be articulated.

Since Howard Zehr's book Changing Lenses (1990) first sketched the outlines of the restorative justice paradigm, little agreement on definitions or principles have evolved (McCold, 1998c). Recently, two competing definitions of restorative justice have been proposed.

The Declaration of Leuven (1999) and a Working Party of the U.N. Alliance of NGOs (McCold, 1998b) have both incorporated a working definition of restorative justice proposed by Tony Marshall. "Restorative justice is a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future" (Marshall, 1996).

Walgrave and Bazemore have publicly criticized Marshall's definition as inadequate, and have proposed a definition of restorative justice that is much more expansive--the "Maximalist" model of restorative juvenile justice (Walgrave, 1998b; 1999; Bazemore and Walgrave, 1999a,b). The comparison of the two distinct...