From restorative justice to restorative practices: the experiences and journey of Newcastle as a restorative city.

Prof John Anderson1

1University Of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

The concept of restorative justice underpins the broader notion of restorative practices. The roots of restorative justice can be found in our approaches to dealing with young offenders and developing rehabilitative models of youth conferencing. These models focus on offenders taking responsibility for misconduct and taking action to repair harm done and restore relationships. Through this process, the victim of such misconduct and the community are restored to their previous status or may receive compensation or healing. Together with some form of punishment, this restorative process can allow for reintegration of an offender into the community rather than alienating them and continuing the cycle of offending. A number of innovative and successful models of restorative justice operate throughout Australia, including in Newcastle. Over time the restorative movement, having gained a measure of community acceptance, has evolved ‘beyond the repair of harm caused by criminal conduct to addressing problems in schools, social services, workplaces and neighbourhoods’.

Newcastle is on a journey to becoming a restorative city. This began with a symposium in June 2018 where restorative initiatives and practices operating in the city were showcased and successfully demonstrated that an innovative, different and relational approach to conflict can have benefits across the community. This journey is continuing with the Newcastle as a Restorative City Initiative (NRC) represented by a broad cross section of community groups, including the university. NRC is working across key organisations in education, health, justice, business and social services to support and develop projects using restorative approaches to help solve problems, including in the criminal justice system with a focus on offending by youths.


Biography:

John Anderson PhD is a Professor at the Newcastle Law School and Deputy Head of Faculty, Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Newcastle, NSW. He has extensive practical and academic experience in criminal law and evidence. He has published widely on criminal law and justice issues, including sentencing and procedure. His research focuses on matters relating to equity and fairness in sentencing, which extends to sentencing options, restorative practices, parole and recidivism. He is a leading researcher on the Newcastle as a Restorative City Initiative and is also involved in multi-disciplinary research on elder abuse and advance personal planning. He is a chief investigator on a current ARC discovery project, “Taking Action: Increasing Advance Personal Planning for Older Community Dwelling Adults”. He has co-ordinated and taught across various courses, including Criminal Law and Procedure, Advanced Criminal Law, Evidence and Sports Law.

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