Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 4.17.42 PMPhoto by iangbl at Flickr Creative Commons

When a new program or practice becomes more common, it is bound to face criticism as it draws attention. This is true for restorative justice, particularly as it gains ground in the UK and increasingly is sanctioned by law. During a 7-minute discussion on BBC radio, Peter Neyroud, the former chief constable of Thames Valley police department (which pioneered the use of "restorative cautioning" more than 15 years ago), and Garry Shewan, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, argue for high quality deliverance of restorative justice.

Neyroud expresses his concern that "community disposals," in which police are permitted to handle low-level crimes through a voluntary restorative process when victims agree to participate, have been overused. In particular, they have been used in domestic violence cases, which he said should be explicitly excluded from such disposals because battered partners may be coerced to participate.

Shewan agrees. However, he argues that when restorative justice is delivered well, and is victim-led, it not only meets the government's guidelines but consists of good, effective practice.

The conversation may be heard here.

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