Restorative justice in diverse and unequal societies


The literature that has emerged around restorative justice often claims that restorative justice delivers more effective justice, partly because it offers community members and organisations a far wider role than conventional courthouse justice. This paper argues that restorative justice may have the power to do so if properly resourced and linked to offences that are susceptible to imprisonment. Following an examination of family group conferencing in New Zealand, the Reintegrative Shaming Experiment (RISE) in Canberra, and the findings of the South Australian Juvenile Justice Project research on conferencing, the author warns that in extending and developing programs of this kind, we should be careful not to assume equality of outcomes from equality of treatment, and advocates a form of restorative justice directed to relations of group inequality as well as individual criminality.