A Framework for a Restorative Society? Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland

  • Brian Payne (Queen’s University Belfast )
  • Vicky Conway (Queen’s University Belfast)

Presenting findings of an unparalleled study, mapping the extent of restorative practices in Northern Ireland, this article argues that while some examples of the use of restorative justice in Northern Ireland have been researched in detail, it is in fact being employed in a much wider range of contexts, including schools and children’s care homes. This diversity in restorative justice deployment is used to frame arguments for restorative justice to be given stronger footing by government citing the great potential for Northern Ireland to become a ‘restorative society’. Key findings from the mapping research are presented as an explanation for previous growth in restorative practices to date and as a facilitator for further growth both in Northern Ireland and in other jurisdictions. These include recognition that the definition and application of restorative justice must be determined by situation and context, and that the continued expansion of restorative practices is dependent on the cross-fertilisation of ideas both from abroad, but also between organisations within a jurisdiction.

Keywords: Restorative Justice, Restorative Practices, Victims, Offenders, Communities, Reintegration

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