Poster of the conference of social impact of RJ

Restorative justice has grown immensely in the last decades, both within the criminal justice system as a response to crime, and in society as a response to social harms and conflicts. Its application within the criminal justice system raises questions around effectiveness and impact for its main stakeholders, but also around its possible impact on the transformation of the justice system as a whole. Its application outside the criminal justice system raises questions around its social impact on our society as a whole. While it is crucial to understand the impact of our practices and our justice paradigms, it is also important to engage critically with the trends and questions around evaluation and impact.

On 5 November 2021 (9-17.30 CET), the Research Committee of the European Forum for Restorative Justice will therefore organise a conference that aims to engage in collective, critical and productive discussions around themes of social impact and evaluation of restorative justice. The conference will focus more specifically on these questions and topics:

  1. Efficiency and evaluation of restorative justice programmes;
  2. Moving from evaluation towards the social impact of restorative justice;
  3. The role of European and international organisations in popularising and fostering restorative justice cultures, practices, policies; and
  4. Narrating the impact of restorative justice.

Topics

1. Efficiency and evaluation of restorative justice programmes

This session discusses a) the types of evaluation-oriented research designs and methods used for evaluating restorative programmes and preferred by different actors, policy makers, practitioners (qualitative/ quantitative/ experimental/ critical), and their benefits and pitfalls? the different (research) methods used for evaluating programmes; b) the relation between evaluation method and type of crime or harms researched (eg. sexual violence, hate crime), and evaluation and the understanding of restorative justice used (process vs outcome); c) indicators and criteria of evaluation (ex. recidivism, satisfaction, cost-effectiveness, restoration, transformation) and indicators both from a policy makers and from a restorative justice point of view; d) coproduction of evaluation between researchers and practitioners.

 2. The role of international organisations in popularising and fostering restorative justice cultures, practices, policies

This session delves into a) the role of international restorative justice organisations (such as EFRJ), and international institutions (such as EU, UN or CoE) in fostering restorative justice cultures, practices, policies, and ways in which can we assess that; b) on the types of cooperations which can support restorative aims (for example with other European or international organisations such as CEP, Victim Support Europe, Penal Reform International); c) on the collaborations between international restorative justice sister organisations (such as the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice, the Asia Pacific Forum for Restorative Justice, etc.); d) on the relation and affinity with other ‘social movements’ (environmental movement, BLM, …).

3. From evaluation towards the social impact of restorative justice

This session focuses on a) possible ways of assessing the social impact of restorative justice in society (ex. restorative cities, restorative schools, restorative workplaces); b) ways of differentiating between the (micro) impact on interpersonal relationships and neighbourhoods, the (meso) impact on institutions, and on the (macro) impact on society; c) ways of assessing the effect of the micro interventions on the meso or macrolevels of transformation; d) possible ways of researching cooperations and partnerships; ways of quantifying or qualifying the impact of social interventions.

4. Narrating the impact of restorative justice

This session discusses a) best examples of communicating research results to policy makers, to specific target groups, to society at large; b) potential collaborations between researchers, artists, practitioners, journalists to increase the potential of narrating the social impact of restorative justice; c) the role of the arts in increasing social impact; d) ways to communicate restorative justice better to the public.

Conference programme

Timezone: CET- Central European Time (Brussels time)

09.00-09.10 Welcome, RECOM Chair and Vice-chair: Brunilda Pali and Anna Matczak

PANEL 1 Chair: Estelle Zinsstag

EFFICIENCY AND EVALUATION OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PROGRAMMES

PANEL 2 Chair: Giuseppe Maglione

THE ROLE OF EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL ACTORS IN FOSTERING RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CULTURES, PRACTICES, POLICIES

PANEL 3 Chair: Fernanda Fonseca Rosenblatt

FROM EVALUATION TOWARDS THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

PANEL 4 Chair: Anna Matczak

NARRATING THE IMPACT OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

09.10 – 09.30 Joanna Shapland, University of Sheffield (UK)

09.30 – 09.50 Kelly Richards, Queensland University of Technology (Australia) 

09.50 – 10.30 Discussion

10.30 – 11.00 Comfort Break

11.00 –11.20  Jamie Lee, UNODC 

11.20 – 11.40 Gerry Johnstone, University of Hull (UK) 

11.40 – 12.20 Discussion

12.20 – 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 – 14.20 Cristina Vasilescu, Institute for Social Research (Italy) 

14.20 – 14.40 Jennifer Llewellyn, Dalhousie University (Canada)

14.40 – 15.20 Discussion

15.20 – 15.50 Comfort Break

15.50 – 16.10 Lindsey Pointer, NCRJ, Vermont Law School (USA)

16.10 – 16.30 Lucy Jaffe, WhyMe? (UK)

16.30 – 17.10 Discussion

17.10 –17. 30 Closing remarks

Practicalities

Banner image: "Measuring Tape" by Marcy Leigh on Flickr.com