Restorative justice plan likely to leave ‘significant gaps’

Restorative justice plan likely to leave 'significant gaps'

Ian Marder

Government plans to make restorative justice available to everyone who could benefit from it will likely still leave “significant gaps”, an expert has said.

A policy paper published this month states that restorative justice is not yet being used to its “maximum potential” in Ireland, and that its expansion could deliver “significant savings to the State”.

It also sets out the government’s plan to increase provisions by strengthening existing capabilities within current structures rather than establishing a new national delivery service or agency.

However, Dr Ian Marder, who researches restorative practices in criminal justice at Maynooth University, said the “level of investment the policy envisages will not suffice to meet its own aim”.

In a blog post, Dr Marder said there are “reasons to be positive about this policy, not least that new resources are being committed to the development of restorative justice”, but warned of a lack of detail on “the amount of new resources that will be provided [and] the manner of their allocation”.

“Unless several new services are set up (or existing ones expanded), and new referral pathways are established, significant gaps will likely remain,” he said.

He concludes: “This policy paper represents a positive step, but much more work is needed to make restorative justice universally accessible.”

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