Science, Art and Alchemy: Best Practice in Facilitating Restorative Justice
Journal Contemporary Justice Review, Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice, Volume 20, Issue 3 (2017).
41 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2019 Last revised: 29 Oct 2019
Date Written: 2017
This paper explores the role and process of facilitation in restorative justice (RJ). Drawing from a victim o ender conferencing program used after serious crime in New South Wales Australia, 84 interviews with restorative facilitators were thematically analysed. The skills, techniques and strategies used to prepare, conduct and de-brief cases are considered including managing complex cases where participants present with intense anger and grief, poor insight into offending and cognitive and mental health issues. While good facilitation is in part the result of knowledge, training and experience, the art of great facilitation relates to the interplay of the facilitator’s inherent characteristics, capacities and world-views alongside this knowledge, skill and experience. While facilitating well is premised on an appreciation of the alchemy that exists within RJ, advanced facilitators use the alchemy to shape the process. Good practice is further enabled through workplace structures that support a team approach where there is open deliberation around needs, risk and harm. Because good facilitation is paramount to the best practice of RJ this paper has implications for current policy debates concerning RJ standards and the training and accreditation of RJ practitioners.
Keywords: restorative justice, victim offender mediation, facilitation, victims
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