16th February 2009



The editors of Contemporary Justice Review would like to invite scholars from all disciplines, activists, and practitioners of restorative justice to submit an essay title/abstract for a special issue on “‘Celebrating’ the 35th Birthday of Restorative Justice.” We are using as a starting point the establishment of the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) in Kitchener Ontario by Mark Yantzi and Dave Worth in 1974. Of course, we welcome papers on the aboriginal foundations of restorative justice that long preceded programs such as VORP in the Anglo world.

Authors might wish to focus on restorative justice demonstration projects around the globe, highlighting the difficulties of establishing such programs in this era of punishment-based corrections as well as the reasons for the successes and failures of different models of restorative practices. Critical assessments of restorative justice paradigms are welcome.

Articles might assess the efficacy of the movement in its 35-year history. Was too much promised? More delivered than hoped for? Issues of co-optation of restorative practices by state officials and policies will shed light on such matters. The implementation of restorative practices might also be looked at within the theory of complex organizations, whether the managerial practices of some organizations structurally defeat the ameliorative potential of restorative justice.

We welcome re-evaluations of the theoretical foundations of restorative justice: the legal, spiritual, and psychological foundations of restorative practices? Do certain religious affiliations defeat the restoration of lives because of their inherent theological requirements?

Some authors might wish to examine films that tackle the difficult and complex issues of restorative justice, highlighting how screenwriters and directors portray the possibilities of restoration without re-victimization. Dead Man Walking comes immediately to mind. We are interested in the review and re-review of books that have contributed substantially to restorative justice theory and practice.

We are also looking for an examination of: (1) restorative justice practices in families, schools, and places of work as well as practices of nonviolent conflict resolution generally; (2) the various relationships between restorative justice and criminology, sociology, and psychology. How can the social sciences through theories of change offer insight into how to expand the practice of restorative justice to all arenas of social life? Where, for example, does the recent work on traumatology and the “loss of one’s assumptive world” fit into restorative justice theory and practice?

And, can restorative programs consider change realistically without taking into account social-structural conditions which militate against restoration and the successful reintegration of those harmed and wounded into “the community?” That is, are there instances of restorative programs that spin their wheels while seeking to alleviate the pain and suffering of persons affected by criminal and other forms of harmful activity?

Those with questions about the appropriateness of their work for this special issue of CJR should contact Editor-in-Chief Dan Okada at <dokada@csus.edu>. Those interested in submitting work on these topics should send title/abstract to Assistant Editor, Diane Simmons Williams <dsw27@earthlink.net> by June 15, 2009. Notification of acceptance will be made by July 15. Completed essays (see www.justicestudies.org for format requirements) will be due May 1, 2010.