Criminal Justice 2008

What is restorative justice?

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Weitekamp, E.G.M. (1999) “The history of restorative justice" in G. Bazemore and L. Walgrave (eds.) Restorative juvenile justice: Repairing the harm of youth crime

Uploaded at: 2010. 03. 01.


Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, 75-102.

In this essay, Weitekamp traces the history of restorative justice. He begins by noting the use of numerous terms in the literature about earlier societies and the history of criminal justice, terms that he claims can be united under the umbrella of restorative justice (a fairly new term): restitution; reparation; compensation; reconciliation; atonement; redress; community service; mediation, and indemnification. Upon this basis he deals with restorative justice elements in two broad types of societies: acephalous societies (i.e., societies without rulers, such as nomadic groups); and state societies. Asserting a wide extent of restorative justice in some form in acephalous societies, Weitekamp discusses blood revenge, retribution, ritual satisfaction, and restitution. He then goes on to describe the following: forms of restitution and elements of restorative justice in early state societies; the demise of restitution and other restorative justice elements by the end of the twelfth century; and the contemporary resurgence of interest in such practices. Weitekamp concludes by arguing for the relevance of ancient forms of restorative justice for criminal justice in the next millennium.

Source: Vanspauwen, K., Robert, L., Aertsen, I., Parmentier, S. (2003), Restorative Justice and Restorative Detention. A selected and annotated bibliography. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, Onderzoeksgroep Penologie en Victimologie.

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