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Social Work: Research


Developing Restorative Justice in Scotland: Learning from local and international experience

Restorative justice (RJ) is a process that brings together those harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm to safely discuss the harm and how it might be set right. International research suggests RJ can help victims recover from harm, encourage those involved in crime to desist from offending, and provide a more satisfying experience of the justice process. RJ is used across the world in a variety of ways, but only relatively infrequently in Scotland, and rarely with serious crime committed by adults. Given the evidence for the potential benefits of RJ for both victim and offender, as well as communities, the time has come to bring these insights to bear on the case for developing RJ in Scotland where and in ways in which it can be most helpful.

This project was funded by the Scottish University Insight Institute and involved a series of events, facilitated as open, constructive dialogues or conversations, running from March to October 2017. Our programme included: what research is telling us about RJ and what practice and policy in Scotland may learn from this; RJ and desistance from crime; RJ and recovery from harm; RJ and sensitive crimes. We had a final full-day conference in the autumn in which the learning from the programme of conversations was focused on the future for RJ in Scotland. In addition there was be an event in autumn 2017 on communicating justice. 

For further information, please see the project webpage:

Relevant publications

Kirkwood, S. & Munro, M. (2017). Warm words and no action: The fate of restorative justice in Scotland. Scottish Justice Matters, 5 (1), 2-3.

Programme leads:

Dr Steve Kirkwood, University of Edinburgh

Mary Munro, University of Strathclyde

Associate programme leads:

Cyrus Tata, University of Strathclyde

Fiona Jamieson, University of Edinburgh

Wider programme team:

Jenny Johnstone, Newcastle University

Dr Giuseppe Maglione, Napier University

Prof. Joanna Shapland, University of Sheffield

Dr Claire Lightowler, Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice

Prof. Fergus McNeill, University of Glasgow

Tom Halpin, Sacro

Pete White, Positive Prison? Positive Futures . . .

Dr Trish McCulloch, University of Dundee

Sarah Armstrong, Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research

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