Incentive for insincerity- pre sentence restorative justice: in whose interests?

Sean Creaney, Gareth Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
205 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of the paper is twofold. First it examines the use of restorative practices in the Youth Justice System. Second the paper seeks to critically assess the benefits of Restorative Justice at the pre-sentence stage in England and Wales, particularly in terms of its ethical and practical application. Design/methodology/approach: The authors draw on the experiences of a small scale pilot into the use of pre-sentence Restorative Justice and data from in depth interviews with one of the pilot sites. A snapshot survey and discussions with a Youth Offending Team piloting pre- sentence Restorative Justice was also undertaken. Findings: The authors find that the level of personal involvement of victims in Restorative Justice has fallen short of expectations. The authors note that if there is to be reduced stress and trauma for victims participation needs to be independent of coercion or reward. Offenders who are lacking in sincerity should not be coerced or pressured into accepting pre-sentence RJ as this could, despite benign intent, exacerbate feelings of anger and distress for victims. Furthermore the importance of practitioners being properly trained in Restorative Justice conferencing is highlighted as they have a fundamental part to play in mitigating against some of the potential risks. Practical implications: The article identifies issues and ambiguities with pre-sentence Restorative Justice and examines in detail the complexities of working in such an environment. The article will be of use to local and potentially national decision makers and commissioners of Restorative Justice programmes. Originality/value: The authors explore the under researched concept and delivery of pre-sentence Restorative Justice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-137
JournalSafer Communities
Issue number3
Early online date10 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2015


  • Pre-sentence restorative justice
  • restorative justice
  • restorative practices
  • youth justice
  • victims
  • offenders
  • crown court
  • referral orders.


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