n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Restorative justice with an explicit rehabilitative ethos : is this the resolve to change criminality?

Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Despite ongoing research there is no consensus amongst scholars regarding the definition and meaning of restorative justice. While various ideas have been advanced on what restorative justice is supposed to be, the literature is unclear as to whether it should be a mainstream role-player in criminal justice. In this contribution it is envisaged that all the different arguments regarding restorative justice will be addressed to position it in relation to mainstream criminal justice and rehabilitation. It appears that the key objective of restorative justice is restoration and addressing harms after the victim has granted forgiveness. However, some victims will take a long time to forgive while others will never forgive. Some scholars believe that a restorative justice conference is much more effective in preventing further crime i.e. promotes (rehabilitation) than the formal threats of the Criminal Justice System. This contribution takes a critical look at restorative justice and whether we should be optimistic that this new trend will make a contribution towards resolving crime and whether it should replace existing punitive measures in the Criminal Justice System. Proper research findings are required to determine whether restorative justice could address the current limitations of the existing Criminal Justice System.

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