A conceptual framework for restorative justice is required. This paper is intended to develop a conceptual framework for restorative justice in order to understand what practices meet the demands of a restorative model. The framework will articulate a definition of restorative justice, examine its relationship to other prevailing conceptions of justice, and identify the constitutive elements necessary for restorative justice practice. Restorative justice is fundamentally concerned with restoring social relationships, with establishing or re-establishing social equality in relationships. That is, relationships in which each person's rights to equal dignity concern and respect are satisfied. What practices are required to restore the relationship at issue will, then, be context-dependent and judged against this standard of restoration. As it is concerned with social equality, restorative justice inherently demands that one attend to the nature of relationships between individuals, groups and communities. Thus, in order to achieve restoration of relationships, restorative justice must be concerned both with the discrete wrong and its relevant context and causes.
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.