n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Evaluating restorative justice : working out 'what works'

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As more research seeks to unravel questions about the efficacy and effectiveness of restorative justice, this new paradigm finds itself in an entrepreneurial phase with program creation, practice, research, evaluation and outreach being carried out collaboratively across diverse intersecting groups. Not restricted to a particular approach or program, restorative justice as a set of values and vision of social reform places emphasis on the offender's personal accountability to those harmed by the offence directly or indirectly (which may include the community and / or the victim) and an inclusive decision making process that encourages active involvement of key participants with the goal of remedying the harm caused by the offence. While one noted restorative justice scholar alludes to the tendency to engage in 'butterfly collecting' (Crawford, 2002), another cautions us to 'mind the gap' between theory and practice; alerting academics and practitioners alike of the need to understand the 'real story' (Daly, 2003a & 2003b). Whether engaged in theoretical, empirical or practical activity, restorative justice advocates, academics and / or practitioners are placing greater emphasis on evaluation and its future challenges.


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