Sociology and Criminology

Restorative Justice and Desistance

Module code: L4107B
Level 5
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

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.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of Restorative Justice and Desistance as an area of criminological study.
  • Apply theoretical arguements on Restorative Justice and Desistance to empirical examples, in order to critically analyse these examples, their rationale, and the effect, or not, on society.
  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to communicate and evaluate concepts drawn from Restorative Justice and Desistance in both presentations and essay formats, the former more suitable for public knowledge exchange.
  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to make use of appropriate criminological scholarship, policy/legislation and primary sources surrounding the appropriate applications of Restorative Justice and Desistance ways of thinking and working.