Restorative Justice in Hong Kong: Its Role in Youth Justice and Future Challenges

Dennis Wong1
1City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, juvenile justice mainly embraces disciplinary welfare and rehabilitative philosophies. Various statutory measures are applied to juvenile offenders, including police cautioning, community-based treatment measures, and custodial sentencing options. However, no statutory restorative measure has yet been incorporated into the mainstream juvenile criminal justice system in Hong Kong. Several nongovernmental organizations are developing innovative strategies to prevent problematic adolescents from slipping into delinquency and are willing to apply restorative practices to help delinquents desist from engaging in criminal careers. This paper begins with main features of restorative justice, and highlights the preventive and correctional services for delinquents in Hong Kong. The paper questions the explanations offered by the government for not implementing restorative justice. By comparing restorative options for juveniles in some Asian jurisdictions, the study advocates for an earlier introduction of restorative justice for the benefits of juvenile offenders.

Dennis S W Wong is Professor of Criminology at the Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Associate Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong. His areas of teaching and research are criminology, youth studies, parents-child relationships, conflict management, and restorative justice. Dennis is honorary consultant on youth drugs abuse, school bullying, and offenders’ rehabilitation for governmental organizations in Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore. He is an active member of Asian Criminological Society, Convenor of Asia Pacific Forum of Restorative Justice, and board member for a number of non-governmental organizations. Apart from publishing articles in local and international journals, he has published six books related to youth delinquency, school bullying, alternative to prosecution, mediation, and restorative justice.


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