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).

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 19-84

41 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2019 Last revised: 29 Oct 2019

See all articles by Jane Bolitho

Jane Bolitho

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Social Science and Policy

Jasmine Bruce

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Bolitho, Jane and Bruce, Jasmine, Science, Art and Alchemy: Best Practice in Facilitating Restorative Justice (2017). Journal Contemporary Justice Review, Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice, Volume 20, Issue 3 (2017)., UNSW Law Research Paper No. 19-84, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3414160

Jane Bolitho (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Social Science and Policy ( email )

Australia

Jasmine Bruce

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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