This article discusses the history of restorative justice globally as well as elements particular to current restorative justice practices in New Zealand.
Introduction: In the opening pages of his recent book Crime, Punishment, and Restorative Justice, American author Ross London tells of what prompted him to embark on the journey of discovery that led to the writing of the book. After more than 25 years of professional involvement in the criminal justice system as an attorney, a public defender and a municipal judge, London found himself asking the question: ‘Is this the best we can do?’
The conventional justice system, he knew, has its merits. Evolving over centuries, it has proved reasonably effective in keeping crime under tolerable levels of control, while at the same time giving place to an ever-expanding body of basic human rights. Yet, reflecting on personal experience London was left, even on his better days, with a hollow feeling inside, a feeling that the system was not actually achieving much good at all.
Chris Marshall is the inaugural Professor of Restorative Justice in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. Professor Marshall has published widely in the areas of New Testament studies, Christian ethics and restorative justice.