Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Restorative justice in prisons: Methods, approaches and effectiveness

Restorative justice in prisons: Methods, approaches and effectiveness

Johnstone, Gerry. “Restorative justice in prisons: Methods, approaches and effectiveness.” Strasbourg: Council of Europe (2014).

Restorative justice is most commonly presented as a viable alternative to imprisonment for many offenders. On this view, restorative justice interventions can perform many of the functions we expect imprisonment to perform, such as discouraging crime and reoffending, changing the outlook of offenders, and satisfying victims and society that something meaningful is being done in response to crime. In recent years there has been a significant growth and development of restorative justice in prisons (Van Ness, 2007). This has taken a variety of forms, ranging from limited experiments with restorative encounters involving very small numbers of prisoners and a handful of crime victims to more ambitious efforts to introduce a restorative justice ethos throughout entire prisons.

The focus of this report is how restorative justice is and can be applied within prisons. Specifically, the report explores the way agencies can use restorative justice to handle offenses—such as assaults and thefts—that happen within the prison as an alternative to the traditional disciplinary process.

Click here to view the report.

Keywords: alternatives, disciplinary process, sanctions