The event was attended by 45 experts in the restorative justice field including representatives from the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Youth Justice Board, academia and practice. This shows the appetite for more events such as this one and ICCCR has indicated that it looks forward to continuing to work with IARS.
The seminar brought together practitioners, researchers and policy makers in restorative justice to discuss gaps that they experienced in their efford to work together. At this critical point in time when the new UK coalition government is consulting on its sentencing reform plans and a less punitive approach to crime, the report identifies some key areas for improvement for restorative justice.
Dr. Theo Gavrielides, author of the report, Director of IARS and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at ICCCR, said: "This is the first of a series of seminars that aim to encourage a dialogue and consensus amongst practitioners, researchers and policy makers in the restorative justice movement. There is clear evidence of a relationship breakdown and at this critical point in time for restorative justice bridges must be built if the practice is to be rolled out".
The academic and research agenda on restorative justice is too narrow, the report argues. There is a tendency to focus on matters of immediate policy and practical relevance and, as a result, the political and cultural character of restorative justice as well as its goals of academic research are put second. At the same time, a more thorough cost-benefit analysis for restorative justice is needed if it is to be seen as a more cost effective approach to crime, than imprisonment and penal punishment.
Prof. Gerry Johnston speaker at the event and Director of the MA in Restorative Justice (Hull University) said: "As it is becoming ever more clear that our current approach to crime and anti-social behaviour is economically unsustainable and damaging to the very fabric of contemporary British society, the search for more just and effective approaches is now urgent. In this context, policy makers and others interested in the future of criminal justice are showing serious interest in the potential of restorative justice. In response to this challenge, this well-organised seminar brought together experts on restorative justice for a penetrating discussion of the role it might play not only in creating a more meaningful response to crime but in revitalising the communities of contemporary Britain"
The report can be downloaded from the IARS website www.iars.org.uk or by clicking here The seminar was funded by ICCCR and IARS. IARS received a grant from the European Commission as part of the MEREPS programme. For more information on the events contact Dr. Theo Gavrielides T.Gavrielides@iars.org.uk 020 8133 8317, Unit 3B, Park Place, 10-12 Lawn Lane, London SW8 1UD
Notes to Editors
IARS: Independent Academic Research Studies www.iars.org.uk
ICCCR: International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research http://www.open.ac.uk/icccr/