Bridging the gap: Exploring the role of community in restorative justice

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(Thesis) M.A.
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Restorative justice has gained international attention within criminal justice. Restorative justice asks communities to take an active role in responding to harm. This research explores the idea of "community" in an attempt to strengthen the bridge between philosophy and implementation of restorative justice. The qualitative approach chosen to engage participants reflects the values of restorative justice. Circles, totalling 35 participants, were held to elicit the insight of both community members and restorative justice advocates. Their feedback on involvement in the research process was positive. The themes that emerged from the circle process allowed an interesting discussion of the role of community in justice and how "community" might be defined. The dangers with respect to shifting greater responsibility back to community and minimizing the role of professionals were key areas. This research suggests that restorative justice initiatives can be sustainable when community is meaningfully engaged.
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