Restorative justice (RJ) is a burgeoning field of study and practice. While it emerged primarily within the criminal justice setting over the last four decades, other applications can also be observed in schools, workplaces, communities, in complaints procedures and even in transitional settings. The field of restorative justice given its applied character is interdisciplinary and brings together people from different professional backgrounds, be it as researchers, practitioners or policy makers. Restorative justice is consequently increasingly discussed during the ESC conference on a variety of topic areas.
The idea of a Working Group specifically dedicated to restorative justice came after the ESC conference in Sarajevo in 2018 where a number of papers on RJ had been submitted but were presented in a number of panels not relevant to those papers. The working group was subsequently created and launched in Ghent in 2019 by Dr Kerry Clamp (University of Nottingham /UK) and Dr Estelle Zinsstag (Edinburgh Napier University/ UK and KU Leuven/Belgium) – see also the report in the newsletter of that year.
The aims of the working group include:
- Bringing together researchers working on restorative justice and creating an international and intergenerational network; and
- Facilitating research agendas and collaboration on restorative justice projects (such as seminars, summer schools, publications and funded research projects) and maximising the international dissemination of research results.
A number of specific objectives to realise these aims include:
- Promoting communication between restorative justice researchers;
- Organising thematic restorative justice sessions at the annual ESC meetings;
- Establishing cross-national research networks and promote international collaboration on restorative justice research; and
- Offering a ‘best academic article’ award for outstanding research in the restorative justice field.
The working group counts now a very international group of over 50 members and during the pandemic we organised panels online with each time a full day of papers during the Eurocrim conferences of 2020 and 2021. We have also been meeting in between, one year a survey about the interest and wished activities was conducted among our members to make sure the Working Group was really serving our community as needed, the results of which were then discussed during a meeting. The meetings usually include some discussion on substance, with a paper presentation and then some networking activities. Last September, the group met again in Malaga at the ESC (photo) and participated in a number of RJ focussed panels.
All ESC-members involved or interested in RJ related research are invited to join. Therefore, if you are a member of the ESC and would like to join, please send an email stating your name, position, affiliation, and a short introduction to your work to both of us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Kerry.Clamp@nottingham.ac.uk.