• Civilising Criminal Justice by David Cornwell

Civilising Criminal Justice

An International Restorative Agenda for Penal Reform

Edited by David Cornwell, John Blad and Martin Wright, Foreword by John Braithwaite


Price: £25.00

In stock.

Usually despatched within 24 hours

Free Delivery in the UK


A magnificent collection, Civilising Criminal Justice is an inescapable resource for anyone interested in restorative justice: truly international and packed with experience while combining history, theory, developments and practical advice. This volume of specially commissioned contributions by widely respected commentators on crime and punishment from various countries is a ‘break-through’ in bringing together some of the best arguments for long-overdue penal reform. An increasingly urgent need to change outmoded criminal processes, even in advanced democracies, demands an end to those penal excesses driven by political expediency and damaging notions of retribution, deterrence and punishment for its own sake. ‘Civilising’ criminal justice will make it fairer, more consistent, understandable and considerate towards victims of crime, currently largely excluded from participation. Principles of reparative and restorative justice have become increasingly influential in the quest to provide justice which tackles harm, compensates victims, repairs relationships, resolves debilitating conflicts and calls offenders to account. And in any case, what real justification is there for subjecting more and more people to the expensive but hollow experience of prison, especially at a time of economic stringency. Civil justice – in its various forms – can be swifter, cheaper and more effective, in court or through mediated processes focusing on the harmful consequences of offences rather than inflicting punishment that may satisfy a baying media but come home to haunt the community. This brave and generous book illustrates the many different ways in which criminal justice can be ‘civilised’ and how lessons can be learned from practical experience across the world and shared expertise. It is a volume that every politician should read, every criminal justice professional should possess, and that every student of criminology and penology will find invaluable.


‘Brings together such a range of voices … engages in critical thinking about law, punishment, restoration and justice, thereby taking the reader beyond the simplistic notion of criminal justice ‘bad’, restorative justice ‘good’ … This important, stimulating collection … [with a] variety and richness of contributions … will serve as a useful guide to legitimating hopes and strategies for reform’: Restorative Justice: An International Journal.

‘Eighteen original contributions … steer restorative justice into critical territory. In the process, they make a very good effort at examining the ability of restorative justice to challenge criminal justice as we know it. Overall [the articles] present a lively interaction on international practices that actually establish “a kind of justice that serves the interests and needs of victims, offenders, and society in a balanced, just and effective way”: International Journal of Community Corrections (USA).

‘An ambitious collection from a wide range of international commentators … offers sounds sound international theoretical, practical and procedural considerations for the student, academic, practitioner and policy maker. An essential companion to anyone interested in restorative justice’: Prison Service Journal.

‘A fine collection … international from cover to cover’: restorativejustice.org

‘Deserves to be the key book in resourcing and shaping the future debate about restorative justice’: Terry Nowell


Editorial Preface

Introduction – The Editors

Foreword – John Braithwaite

PART I: Civilising Procedure

1. Justice and Punishment: Myths, Mercy and Anglo-Saxon Attitudes – David Cornwell

2. Restorative Justice as a Procedural Revolution: Some Lessons from the Adversary System – F W M. (Fred) McElrea

3. Retribution and/or Restoration? The Purpose of our Justice System through the Lens of Judges and Prosecutors – Borbála Fellegi

4. Crime and Justice: A Shift in Perspective – Louis Blom-Cooper

5. Civilising Civil Justice – Ann Skelton

6. Seriousness: A Disproportionate Construction and Application? – Christine Piper and Susan Easton

PART II: Civilising Theory

7. Restorative Justice Amongst Other Strategies – John Blad

8. Remorse and Facilitating Responsibility: Rationales of Personal Mitigation in Sentencing – Bas van Stokkom

9. To Punish or to Restore? A False Alternative – Serge Gutwirth and Paul De Hert

10. Dialogical Justice: Philosophical Considerations for Re-thinking the Reaction to Crime in a Restorative Way – Federico Reggio

11. Making Criminal Justice More Civilised Through Restorative Justice – Lode Walgrave

PART III: Civilising Practice

12. Could a Restorative System of Justice be more Civilised than a Punitive One? – Martin Wright

13. Restorative Justice Beyond: Mediation (not only) in Criminal Conflicts – Thomas Trenczek

14. Restorative Justice and Penal Mediation: The French Exception – Jean-Pierre Bonafé-Schmitt

15. Positioning the Offender in a Restorative Framework: Potential Dialogues and Forced Conversations – Claire Spivakovsky

16. Development of Restorative Justice Practices in Norway – Per Andersen

17. Downsizing the Use of Imprisonment in Finland – Tapio Lappi-Seppälä

18. Conclusions – David Cornwell, John Blad and Martin Wright

Editors and contributors

David Cornwell, John Blad and Martin Wright are three of the leading international experts on this topic with many publications to their names individually. Contributors: Serge Gutwirth and Paul De Hert (Belgium), Federico Reggio (Italy), Bas van Stokkom (The Netherlands), Lode Walgrave (Belgium), Susan Easton and Christine Piper (UK), Louis Blom-Cooper QC (UK), Tapio Lappi-Seppälä (Finland), Thomas Trenczek (Germany), Jean-Pierre Bonafé-Schmitt (France), Per Andersen (Norway), Claire Spivakovsky (Australia), Ann Skelton (Republic of South Africa), Borbála Fellegi (Hungary), Judge Fred McElrea (New Zealand); and the editors.


John Braithwaite is a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University, author of ground-breaking works on restorative justice and recipient of various awards including, in 2005, the Emile Durkheim Prize of the International Society of Criminology, for his lifetime contributions to that subject.

Additional information

Weight788 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 30 mm

Foreword author

John Braithwaite


Waterside Press




Publication date




Place of origin

United Kingdom

Ebook (EPUB)


Ebook (PDF)


Year of publication


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Civilising Criminal Justice”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…