Restorative Justice and Desistance (L4107B)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

Restorative justice purports to offer an alternative to the adversarial formal western criminal justice systems, more interested in dealing with the hurt caused by crime than reinforcing conflict by affecting emotional change in both victim and offender. This module introduces the concepts at the heart of restorative justice with reference to its indigenous and contemporary applications post-apartheid South Africa, indigenous communities in North America and Australasia, Northern Ireland.

Yet, we will also bring a critical lens to this phenomenon, interrogating the assumptions common to the processes and rationales behind restorative justice, querying its impact and potential impacts upon the mainstream criminal justice system. Attendant to this critical perspective we make links with the field of Desistance, of the study of how ex-offenders leave behind criminality, a field with a more pronounced influence upon criminal justice policy. You will be required to question the very nature of the criminal justice systems.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Group presentation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: