Potential and limits of abolitionist restorative justice in the UK

Saraswat, Mallika (2020) Potential and limits of abolitionist restorative justice in the UK. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The central focus of this research is Restorative Justice in the United Kingdom and the extent to which this alternative judicial practice introduces abolitionist elements in the criminal justice system. This research is inspired by previous empirical and theoretical work around the concept of ‘spreading the net’, which assessed whether alternatives to custody were, in fact, alternatives to freedom. In brief, the potential and limits of restorative justice as an alternative to penal justice are critically examined through an abolitionist lens.

After a review (and a short history) of the alternatives to custody available in England, penal abolitionism will be introduced, particularly its definitions of crime, its critical discussion of the law, and its views on punishment (see the work of Mathiesen (2015), Christie (1994), Hulsman (1991), Ruggiero (2015), Bianchi (1994) et al). The views of ‘reductionist’ authors such as Pavarini (1981), Melossi (1997), Pitch (2008), Mosconi (1998) and others will also be presented. The recent work of Andrew von Hirsch (2017) and other contemporary penologists (Garland (2018), Huff (2002), Scott (2014), Ryan (2013)) will complete the background work.

Desk research analysed journal articles, reports by the WHO, UN, UDHR, electronic and physical data taken from library resources across universities in London. Empirical studies, analyses and academic research conducted by public, private, governmental as well as charity organisations (Prison Reform Trust, Howard League for Penal Reform), was also examined. Fieldwork was carried out between June 2018 and January 2019. Primary research included undertaking, recording and transcribing 41 interviews with practitioners of Restorative Justice in England as well as academics involved in the restorative justice debate. The research is mainly qualitative in nature, and interviews contain open-ended questions. Interviewees were asked to tell their experience of Restorative Justice and to assess the degree to which this type of alternative practice in dealing with offenders and victims is consistent with penal abolitionism.

The thesis has been divided into seven distinct chapters. Each chapter has its own introduction and summary conclusion thereby condensing the insights gained throughout the research. Introductions and summary conclusions per chapter clarify how each chapter ties into the aims of the research. Each chapter has also been subdivided into titled themes for easier comprehension and improved flow. Detailed list of aforementioned sub-themes within each chapter has been provided below within an extended Table of Contents with corresponding page numbers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 36718
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2022 11:29
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2022 15:02
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/36718

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