SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: This article presents an analysis of restorative justice practice in the Republic of Ireland. This is achieved through an examination of data on restorative justice conferencing events in various venues around Ireland. From these data, the authors analyze these restorative events through an examination of the “functionalist exchange,” which occurs during the interaction between participants in such events. The extent of functionalist exchange is measured through an application of the meta-analysis first utilized in relation to restorative justice practice by Jeff Latimer, Craig Dowden, and Danielle Muise. The study assesses the extent to which functionalist roles become significant in restorative conference outcomes. The article argues that to be truly restorative, events must incorporate the extent to which remorse and subsequent satisfaction is expressed. In addition, the theories of restorative justice are shown to require a further analysis from the practitioners’ perspective, which this article provides. By examining the concepts such as Tomkins’ affect theory and Nathanson’s compass of shame, along with the practitioner-based perspective of Morris and Maxwell, this research constructs a wider understanding of the significance of the functionalist roles of participants during restorative events.
Abstract: Internationally, many youth justice systems aim to divert young people from court through informal mechanisms, such as police cautions and restorative conferences. Among other things, diversion avoids the potentially criminogenic effects of formal contact with the criminal justice system. However, in some instances, the sum of court appearances and diversionary procedures indicates an overall increase in the numbers of young people having contact (formal or informal) with the criminal justice system — a phenomenon known as net-widening. This article summarises previous debates about the risks of net-widening. It then presents results from analysis of over 50,000 police records pertaining to young people's contact with the Tasmanian criminal justice system between 1991 and 2002. Across that decade, court appearances markedly reduced, while a corresponding increase in diversions was recorded. There was no evidence of net-widening. However, there was a significant increase in detention orders. Implications for policy and future research are considered.