The literature on restorative justice is wide ranging but certain common principles emerge from the literature that would be accepted by most theorists and practitioners.
It has been suggested that prisons can become more restorative by encouraging prisoners to take personal responsibility for the consequences of their behaviour, by providing greater opportunities to make amends, and by establishing formal channels of mediation between prisoners to resolve conflict. The author claims that the application of restorative justice principles in prison has four elements: 1. Work done in the prison to create more awareness amongst convicted prisoners of the impact of crime on victims and programmes of direct mediation between victims and offenders; 2. The establishment of a new direction for activities within prisons so that prisoners spend some of their time working for the benefit of others; 3. Remodelling the way disputes are settled within the prison and incorporating restorative principles into grievance and disciplinary procedures; and 4. Building a new relationship with the community outside the prison to emphasise the need for prisoners to be reconciled with the wider society and received back into it. This paper summarises and analyses information currently available on the first of these, that is work in prisons about victims and the impact that crime has on them. Further papers will deal with the other three elements.
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.