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This chapter evaluates the alternative means of responding to offenders and their crimes which have emerged in criminal justice and have been gaining wider recognition. Those who favour innovations of this kind tend to reject conventional assumptions and approaches, proposing new principles for the operation of the justice system. The chapter considers two distinct but similar challenges to conventional models of justice which have developed from this viewpoint: restorative justice and diversion. Restorative justice is based on the presumption that dealing with crime is a process rather than a single act or decision, that it involves collaboration between those with a stake in the offence, and that it emphasises healing as well as ‘putting things right’. Diversionary interventions, which can include community service, restitution, and education, as well as elements of restorative practice, provide an opportunity for the offender to avoid criminal charges or formal judicial processes, albeit sometimes by meeting certain conditional requirements.

Chapter

The subject of the punishment of offenders always excites controversy. Some will argue that the law is too soft. Others believe that it is excessively harsh. This chapter examines how the exercise of punishment (in pursuit of the enforcement of the criminal law) might be validated. Futher it examines the various theories that have been advanced by penologists, law reformers, and philosophers to justify or explain its rationale. These theories include the idea of retributivism, consequentialism, restorative justice, and denunciation. Each of these theories makes an attempt to defend the use of state coercion in order to achieve certain objectives.

Chapter

The question of how or why or whether convicted offenders should be punished is controversial in most societies.Whether a judge or magistrate fails to penalize a convicted criminal sufficiently harshly or whether a sentence is too severe is a matter of continual public interest and debate. This chapter briefly considers how the exercise of punishment—in pursuit of the enforcement of the criminal law—might be validated and discusses the various justifications for the exercise of the state’s power to deprive individuals especially of their liberty, life, or, property. These include the concepts of retributivism, consequentialism, restorative justice, and communication.

Chapter

This chapter describes the key principles of the criminal justice system. These key principles behind the abstract aims of criminal justice include the rule of law, adversarial justice, and restorative justice. The chapter particularly focuses on the rule of law doctrine to illustrate its status as the ultimate authority for democratic systems of justice around the world, but it also reflects on three of its supplementary concepts: an independent judiciary, due process, and human rights. Meanwhile, the traditional adversarial contest in a courtroom between two opposing sides means such hearings can lack impartiality as the role of the judge is limited to ensuring that the rules are followed. The restorative justice principle offers a different dimension, one that prioritises repairing the harms suffered by the injured parties.

Chapter

This chapter explores recent developments in restorative justice theory, research, and practice. It examines reasons why it has been challenging to define restorative justice and offers a comprehensive definition that articulates the relationship between values, processes, and outcomes. It then explores the main theoretical traditions that account for the claims of restorative justice: shame theories, procedural justice theories, and ritual theories. Following this, it reviews the empirical evidence on how offenders and victims experience restorative justice compared to court, and whether it can reduce reoffending. This chapter also discusses contemporary debates around restorative justice and punishment. It concludes by offering an assessment of the future of restorative justice.

Chapter

Victimology is now regarded as a central component to the study of crime and deviance. Victim-based analysis enables understanding of different aspects of criminal and deviant behaviour and is redefining focal research concerns across a range of crimes. This academic development has been matched by the recognition by the criminal justice system of the consequences of victimization and moves towards both victim services and a victim-centred justice process, and by increasing political concern with victimization. The chapter analyses victimology’s key conceptual approaches, ideas, and typologies and examines whether and how different criminological perspectives understand the victim. The chapter considers the issue of victim precipitation, in the context of offender motivation, crime events operandi, and differential risks. It concludes with a discussion of how victimology has connected across to human rights violations with restorative and transitional justice foregrounding consideration of global issues such as truth-telling, reconciliation, reparations, peace-building, and normative compliance.

Chapter

26. Alternatives to punishment  

Diversion and restorative justice

This chapter considers two alternatives to punishment: diversion and restorative justice. It begins by looking at approaches to the delivery of criminal justice which challenge conventional assumptions about crime and punishment. It then traces the origins and development of restorative ideas and practices and goes on to discuss the emergence and impact of diversion as an intervention strategy; the purpose of alternatives to punishment and offence resolution; the structure, organisation, and operation of alternatives to punishment; and the achievements of alternatives to punishment. It also cites examples of the implementation of alternatives to punishment before concluding with an assessment of the limitations of alternatives to punishment.

Chapter

This chapter examines the source and changing nature of the fundamental principles of criminal justice. It begins by considering a process of change for criminal justice featuring four factors labelled as ‘game changers’ — principles, policies, practices, and people — with a particular focus on principles. It then discusses the importance of the rule of law doctrine and some of its key features, including parliamentary sovereignty, separation of powers, an independent judiciary, due process, and human rights. It also explores the essential features of an adversarial justice system and the restorative justice principle and concludes with an assessment of the roles of the police, the courts, and the Crown Prosecution Service in the criminal justice system.

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6. Instead of punishment?  

Restorative justice, child welfare, and medical treatment

This chapter looks at three aspects of sentencing and punishment which—though very different—potentially offer alternatives to a focus on punishment. It first discusses an alternative rationale and approach for responding to those who commit offences, restorative justice and then discusses two sets of offenders where the court does not have to sentence strictly in line with just deserts. So it focuses on children and young people under 18 years of age and examines the policies developed to take into account the welfare of the child, such as diversion from prosecution and a modified approach to strict proportionality of penal responses. Next the chapter focuses on those offenders who are deemed to be mentally disordered and reviews those options available to the sentencing court which focus on treatment rather than punishment. Finally, the chapter provides reflective exercises for all three (potential) alternatives to punishment.

Chapter

This chapter explains the aims of sentencing and types of sentence that may be imposed upon a convicted offender. The main sentencing options that are available to a court when an adult is convicted of a criminal offence include: absolute and conditional discharges, fines, community orders, and imprisonment. Custodial sentences include extended determinate sentences, the new sentence for offenders of particular concern, and life sentences. A custodial sentence has punishment as its primary purpose, whereas a community order focuses more on reform and rehabilitation. The chapter also outlines the key types of sentence that can be imposed upon youths and discusses restorative justice initiatives. It explores the various factors to which the judge or magistrates must have regard when passing sentence, including maximum/minimum sentences, the nature and seriousness of the offence, sentencing guidelines, and pre-sentence reports.

Chapter

This chapter explains the aims of sentencing and types of sentence that may be imposed upon a convicted offender. The main sentencing options that are available to a court when an adult is convicted of a criminal offence include: absolute and conditional discharges; fines; community orders; and imprisonment. Custodial sentences include extended determinate sentences, the new sentence for offenders of particular concern, and life sentences. A custodial sentence has punishment as its primary purpose, whereas a community order focuses more on reform and rehabilitation. The chapter also outlines the key types of sentence that can be imposed upon youths and discusses restorative justice initiatives. It explores the various factors to which the judge or magistrates must have regard when passing sentence, including maximum/minimum sentences, the nature and seriousness of the offence, sentencing guidelines and pre-sentence reports.