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Restorative prisons: Towards radical prison reform

Goulding, D., Hall, G. and Steels, B. (2008) Restorative prisons: Towards radical prison reform. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 20 (2). pp. 231-242.

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The words 'restorative' and 'prison' seem somehow incompatible. Consequently, it ought to be acknowledged that '[a]t one level there can be no such thing as a restorative prison' (Coyle 2001b:7). However, as Coyle (2001b:8) also notes, 'in the interests of prisoners, of prison staff and of civil society one has to set one's ambitions higher than that'. It is already acknowledged that the prison systems we have in the developed world fail to compel offenders to take responsibility for the harm they have caused, fail to recognise the importance of victims in the equation, and fail to demonstrate values inherent in civil society. Accordingly, this article explores the notion of the restorative prison and looks at ways in which restorative and therapeutic processes might work to establish a wholly restorative and therapeutic prison in Australia. That is, a prison whose regime is run entirely on restorative and therapeutic principles rather than a prison that might have established a therapeutic or restorative unit or a prison which runs therapeutic or restorative programs. As Liebmann (2007:250) suggests, 'it is not enough to have a single project to demonstrate "look how restorative we are" - rather a prison needs to look at all ways it can fulfil the values'

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Sydney Institute of Criminology
Copyright: Sydney Institute of Criminology
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