What is restorative justice… and does it work? These are just two of the many questions posed by David J Cornwell in this incisive work. Based on a lifetime of research and experience it deals with the concerns about crime and punishment of that most vivid of judicial creations, ‘The Man or Woman on the Clapham Omnibus’. As the author explains, this human reference point for reason and good sense is likely to be far more receptive to sound explanation and argument than the media (and tabloid press in particular) might give credit. And after all, it is his or her taxes which are being routinely wasted on outmoded or discredited methods. Crime will not disappear through the application of heavy-handed sanctions. Indeed, they make matters worse. With prisons overflowing in many western countries, restorative justice offers a better and ultimately more intuitive solution. Cornwell dismantles the traditional arguments for ‘locking people away’ and undermines the idea that it is necessary to be ‘tough on crime’. The book credits people with a higher level of intelligence. It provides them with proper answers and explanations based on sound data, copious research and an in-depth analysis of existing trends. It is a work for people who value credibility rather than politically-driven excuses with their increasingly damaging effects.
‘A welcome contribution to criminal justice debate. Many books have championed the virtues of restorative justice; The Penal Crisis tackles the altogether more difficult dimension of (how) to articulate how restorative justice might be achieved in practice’: Howard League Journal
David J Cornwell is a criminologist and consultant with extensive practical experience of prisons and imprisonment, having worked in senior positions within the public and private sectors in the UK and abroad. He has written two previous and acclaimed books on restorative justice, Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice (2006) and Doing Justice Better (2007) (both Waterside Press).
Heather Strang is the Director of the Centre for Restorative Justice at the Australian National University and one of the leading international commentators on this topic.