Restorative Justice in Scotland: An Overview

Published 13/12/2006
Type Article
Author(s) Niall Kearney, Steve Kirkwood, Lucinda MacFarlane
Corresponding Authors Niall Kearney, Restorative Justice Development Officer/Mediation and Reparation Service Team Leader, Sacro

This article outlines the current provision of restorative justice processes in Scotland. There is policy for restorative processes in the youth justice system, and services are provided throughout Scotland. There is a high-level commitment by the Scottish Executive to restorative justice processes in the adult criminal justice system; however provision of these services is limited to the diversion from prosecution stage in 5 of the 32 Local Authority areas, and the pre-sentencing and post-sentencing stages on an ad hoc basis. The amount of people who have engaged with restorative justice processes at the diversion stage, and come to a satisfactory resolution, suggests that this is a viable option for dealing with minor crime. Although small scale, the use of these processes at the presentencing and post-sentencing stages demonstrates their feasibility and shows that there are benefits for those involved. We conclude that restorative justice processes address a need on behalf of people harmed and people responsible for harm and they make an important contribution to justice. We suggest that making restorative processes available at the various stages of the criminal justice system is a feasible way in which the Scottish Executive could meet its high-level commitment to restorative justice.