Restorative justice myopia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The restorative justice movement, now well in its forties, is generally in great shape: active, vibrant and productive. It includes a strong academic community (with a central role played by this journal, TIJRJ), a robust body of empirical knowledge about its effectiveness and an ever-growing practice around the globe. Still, it has been suffering from myopia: a difficulty to see distant objects or issues clearly. Being short-sighted in relation to certain issues slows our ability to react, be proactive and collaborate with colleagues who are active in those fields, inhibiting our potential as a social reform movement. The myopia I refer to is the difficulty to see clearly other social movements and legal reforms that have been gaining momentum in recent years. I refer to two related areas of development: therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ), including its practical implementation through
specialised and problem-solving courts, and the emergent discourse around
prosecutorial reform addressing the problem of mass incarceration.
The goal of this Editorial is to aim the spotlight on these two trends, or social
agendas, and to discuss how restorative justice activists’ improved familiarity with these may contribute to the movement. I begin with a section on TJ, referring to certain studies and publications as examples of its focus. A separate section on specialised courts articulates some of the similarities and differences between them and restorative justice. I then continue to discuss the discourse around the problem of mass incarceration or the ‘carceral state’ and explore the few exceptions where explicit references were made by restorative justice scholars to these trends. In the concluding section, I point out four paths by which a far-
sighted restorative justice movement can follow: the theoretical, methodological,
practical and professional.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-355
Number of pages15
JournalThe International Journal of Restorative Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


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