• Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice by David J Cornwell - book cover

Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice

Past, Present and Future Perspectives

by David J Cornwell, Foreword by Tony Cameron


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If the voice of restorative justice is to resonate more widely RJ must demonstrate that it will deliver better justice in a modern-day context. This book sets out to establish the credentials of RJ for this – as a force for change at criminological, penal and everyday, practical levels. The book provides a refreshing analysis of the inherent divide between punitive and restorative approaches to questions of criminal justice. Provides an international perspective as to the potential of restorative justice to: Deliver better ways of dealing with offenders and victims; Reduce the use of custody by challenging offenders to take responsibility for their offences and to make reparation for their wrong-doing; Consign to history the fallacies and false horizons of traditional thinking in favour of a principled, more purposeful use of sanctions.

Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice pulls no punches in its criticism of traditional approaches and their failure to achieve crime prevention. Looks at matters that serve to restrict more active and enthusiastic adoption of principles of restorative justice so that RJ tends to be constrained to a secondary role on the margins of criminal justice development. It examines claims to mainstream consideration against the backdrop of traditional justifications for punishment – and, in an era when increasing use of custodial and other punitive methods is a growing worldwide, questions communities would not be far better served by a more emphatic and early shift in favour of restorative methods. David Cornwell appraises the potential of restorative justice to make ‘corrections’ more effective, civilised, humane, pragmatic and non-fanciful – by looking at ‘bedrock issues’ in contemporary criminology and penology and demonstrate that RJ offers no ‘soft options’, rather the demands of remorse, acceptance of responsibility, and the repairing of harm done. It makes the case for the radical overhaul of existing approaches on the basis of principle rather than political expediency.


‘This short book is well worth the time and effort to read and ponder, especially for anyone who actually works in or administers ‘punishment’ within criminal justice programmes’: restorativejustice.org

‘Cornwell’s attack on traditional philosophies, exploration of restorative philosophy in punishment theory, and different examinations of how restorative justice can transform penal policy provide an optimistic road map for the future of criminal justice’: International Criminal Justice Review

‘This book is highly useful for both lecturers and students studying criminal processes within the UK Criminal Justice System. The book covers a wide range of topics, and is highly informative in terms of addressing the theoretical perspectives’: Laura Monteith, Runshaw College.

‘What is exciting about this book is that the arguments for change in criminal justice practices in four countries discussed are presented cogently by people who are involved in practice and policy making, and who have first hand knowledge of the real life experiences of both offenders and victims within their systems. Each of these contributions has the style of an informal lecture rather than an academic chapter, and this makes each of them lively and accessible. This is my view makes Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice a valuable and relevant text for practitioners, academics and students’: Vista

[Cornwell argues that] ‘although Restorative Justice poses some fundamental questions, it goes considerably further than existing theories towards developing a consistent foundation to everything we do in upholding the law’: Thames View (Journal of Thames Valley Police Service)


David Cornwell was educated at Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham, the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and York University. After more than 20 years military service he became a prison governor, leaving HM Prison Service in 1997 for the private sector with Group 4 Prison and Court Services. He has since worked as consultant operations adviser to GSL’s Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa (during the building, commissioning and initial operation of a 3,000 bed maximum security facility in the Free State Province). He was for several years a tutor at HM Prison Service College, Wakefield UK; and has published various articles and papers on RJ. He is a member of the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) continues to act as a consultant criminologist. He lives with his wife and family in Worcestershire

Additional information

Weight279 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 11 mm

Foreword author

Tony Cameron


Waterside Press




Publication date




Place of origin

United Kingdom

Ebook (PDF)


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