The United Nations Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes, 2nd edition is a comprehensive guide that provides practical information and advice for designing and implementing restorative justice programs. It covers the principles of restorative justice and provides guidance on its application in different contexts, including criminal justice systems, schools, communities, and workplace. The handbook also provides information on the key components of effective restorative justice programs, such as victim-offender mediation, community conferences, and circles, and outlines the steps involved in program design, implementation, and evaluation. Additionally, the handbook provides practical guidance on the challenges and limitations of restorative justice and the strategies for addressing them, including issues related to ethics, cultural sensitivity, and gender equality. The handbook is intended to be a resource for policymakers, practitioners, and advocates in the field of restorative justice, and provides an up-to-date overview of best practices and innovations in this rapidly evolving field.
The United Nations Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes, 2nd edition is organized into several chapters that provide an in-depth overview of the concepts, principles, and practices of restorative justice. The following is a detailed outline of the book:
Chapter 1: Restorative Justice: This chapter provides an overview of the key concepts, features, and underlying assumptions of restorative justice. It defines restorative justice and distinguishes it from retributive justice. The chapter highlights the process values and goals of restorative justice, including the promotion of victim-offender reconciliation, the restoration of harm, and the restoration of social relationships. The chapter also describes the objectives of restorative justice programs, such as reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and enhancing victim satisfaction.
Chapter 2: The Use of Restorative Approaches: This chapter provides an overview of the main types of restorative justice programs, including victim-offender mediation, community and family group conferencing, circle sentencing, restorative programs for juvenile offenders, and indigenous and customary justice forums. The chapter describes the variation in criminal justice programs, highlighting the differences in approach and philosophy between restorative justice programs.
Chapter 3: Principles and Safeguards: This chapter focuses on the principles and safeguards that should guide the use of restorative justice programs in criminal matters. It highlights the basic principles that should be followed, including the principles of voluntariness, fairness, and respect for human rights. The chapter provides examples of guidelines and their contents, including the rights of victims, the rights of offenders, and the rights of communities.
Chapter 4: From Principles to Practice: This chapter provides guidance on the implementation of restorative justice programs, including strategic approaches, program design, and leadership and organization. It discusses the need for legislation to support restorative justice programs and the role of criminal justice agencies in securing the support of the community.
Chapter 5: The Dynamics of Restorative Justice Interventions: This chapter explores the dynamics of restorative justice interventions, including the participants involved in the process and the types of processes used in restorative justice programs. The chapter cautions against potential pitfalls and provides guidance on addressing them.
Chapter 6: Programme Operation: This chapter focuses on the context for the successful operation of a restorative justice program. It highlights the role of police, prosecutorial, and judicial discretion in promoting appropriate referrals to a program. The chapter also discusses the role of NGOs and civil society, the outcomes of restorative justice programs, and the importance of community relations and media relations.
Chapter 7: Programme Monitoring and Evaluation: This chapter focuses on the importance of monitoring and evaluating restorative justice programs. It highlights the challenges in evaluating restorative justice programs and provides guidance on measuring the impact of programs on recidivism. The chapter summarizes evaluation results and highlights emerging best practices.
The section on “Evaluation Results and Evidence of Emerging Best Practices” provides more detail on the general findings related to the evaluation of restorative justice programs. Some of these findings include:
- Increased satisfaction among participants: Evaluations have shown that both victims and offenders are more satisfied with the outcome of a restorative justice process compared to traditional criminal justice procedures. Victims have reported feeling heard, receiving an apology, and having the opportunity to hold the offender accountable. Offenders have reported feeling responsible for their actions and having a greater understanding of the harm they have caused.
- Reduced recidivism: Evaluations have shown that restorative justice programs can have a positive impact on reducing reoffending rates among participants. Some studies have shown that restorative justice programs can reduce reoffending by up to 50% compared to traditional criminal justice procedures.
- Improved relationships between victims, offenders, and the community: Evaluations have shown that restorative justice processes can help to repair relationships between victims, offenders, and the community, and can contribute to a sense of healing and reconciliation. Participants in restorative justice programs have reported increased empathy, greater understanding, and improved communication with one another.
- Positive outcomes in a variety of contexts and types of restorative justice programs: Evaluations have shown that positive outcomes can be achieved in a range of different types of restorative justice programs, including victim-offender mediation, community and family group conferencing, circle sentencing, and restorative programs for juvenile offenders. These positive outcomes have been found in a variety of cultural, geographic, and political contexts, demonstrating the adaptability and versatility of restorative justice programs.
Note: These findings are based on the available research and evaluation studies and may vary depending on the specific context and implementation of the restorative justice program being evaluated.
The United Nations Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes, 2nd edition can be downloaded from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) website. Here are the steps to download the handbook:
- Visit the UNODC website at https://www.unodc.org/
- Click on the “Publications” link located at the top of the page
- Use the search function to find the handbook by typing “United Nations Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes, 2nd edition” in the search bar
- Once you have found the handbook, click on the title to access the download page
- Click the “Download” button to start the download process.
Note: The handbook may be available in multiple languages and formats, including PDF and e-book. Be sure to select the version that best suits your needs.