Restorative justice in undergraduate criminology: Exploring the challenges and benefits to curriculum inclusion in England and Wales
Miss Rowan Sweeney1
1York St John University, York, United Kingdom
There has been considerable growth internationally in both the awareness and application of restorative justice in criminal justice and other settings, and in the teaching of criminology in universities. This presentation explores findings from recent research which critically explored the production, and exclusion, of knowledge(s) of restorative justice within undergraduate criminology curricula in England and Wales. In doing so, this presentation will argue that, while restorative justice inclusion within undergraduate criminology curricula in England and Wales is minimal, where it is included, restorative justice enables valuable pedagogical approaches and criminological understandings.
Evidence drawn on in this presentation was collected using mixed methods. Through an extensive scoping study and documentary analysis, the project examined the content of the criminology curricula at all 85 universities in England and Wales which offered undergraduate criminology degree programs. Further, it explored the perspectives of ten academics, via semi-structured interviews at seven different universities, who facilitated restorative justice teaching and learning, as well as criminology students who studied restorative justice as part of their undergraduate criminology degree, via focus groups at three different universities. The findings in this presentation will evidence and explore: the minimal inclusion of restorative justice in undergraduate criminology in England and Wales; the challenges to the inclusion of restorative justice in undergraduate criminology curricula; and the educational and practical value restorative justice provides in supporting criminology students to think differently about key criminological themes such as harm, crime, justice and punishment.
I am a Doctoral Researcher and Teaching Associate in Social Sciences at York St John University. My research relates to criminological teaching and learning, critical theory, restorative justice, intersectionality, decolonization, and social justice. My PhD critically explores the production, and exclusion, of knowledge(s) of restorative justice within undergraduate criminology. I also research decolonisation and intersectionality within higher education curricula with the aim of developing inclusivity and amplifying marginalized voices. I am Deputy Chair of the British Society of Criminology Postgraduate Committee and on the Community Coordination Team for the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control.