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This Module examines underlying values and principles of restorative justice and highlights where these processes differ in philosophy and practice from conventional criminal justice responses to crime. Drawing on international research findings, the Module explores the evidence that restorative justice is effective in reducing recidivism and achieving participant satisfaction. The Module is structured in four parts. Topic One introduces the concept of restorative justice and highlights the origins and development of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms of this kind. In examining the normative basis for restorative justice, particular attention is given to international standards and norms relating to restorative justice in the context of criminal justice, most notably the Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters (2002). Topic Two provides an overview of the practical operation of restorative justice practices, highlighting differences between conventional criminal justice practices and identifying ways in which restorative justice can effectively complement conventional criminal justice proceedings. Topic Three examines the evidence-base that indicates the cost effectiveness of restorative justice processes. Finally, Topic Four examines various ways of addressing challenges that might arise in implementing restorative justice.

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