Restorative Justice and the State. Untimely Objections Against the Institutionalisation of Restorative Justice

Published 25/03/2021
Type Article
Author(s) Giuseppe Maglione
Corresponding Authors

The incorporation of restorative justice (RJ) into penal policy is not a neutral process; it actually re-shapes both the rationales and the functioning of RJ, possibly erasing its potential to be something ‘other’ and ‘better’ than criminal justice. Through a comparative analysis of policy on RJ in England and Wales, Norway and France, this paper claims that RJ’s promise to provide a cooperative-transformative approach to social conflicts and harms, predicated on de-professionalisation, direct stakeholders’ centrality and critique of punishment, is neutralised by the process of translating RJ into penal policy. The second part of the paper sketches out RJ as a critique of violence, outside any legal framework. Along these lines, it is possible to generate original insights into the current situation and future developments of RJ and, more broadly, into the corrosive dynamics of legal violence.