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Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Veiligheid x Jaar 2013 x
Artikel

Herstelbemiddeling in Vlaanderen onderzocht

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Veiligheid, Aflevering 2 2013
Trefwoorden restorative justice, juvenile delinquents, evaluation research, victims, Flanders
Auteurs Henk Ferwerda en Ilse van Leiden
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    On a yearly basis between 4.000 and 4.500 underage suspects in Flanders accept the offer of Restorative Justice. A many cited definition of Restorative Justice has been developed by Lode Walgrave: ‘Restorative Justice is every action that is primarily oriented toward doing justice by repairing the harm that has been caused by the crime’.
    Commissioned by the Flemish Minister of Welfare, Public Health and Family an evaluation of Restorative Justice for minors was conducted by Bureau Beke. In the article the authors reflect on Restorative Justice in Flanders and describe the most important findings of their research. The process of Restorative Justice, the satisfaction of the parties involved and its results are considered. The authors offer organizations several suggestions related to developing established procedures and practices. Furthermore results show that suspects and victims are satisfied with Restorative Justice, which yields several benefits for the parties involved: Reparation for victims and learning effects and reduced contacts with counseling agencies for suspects. An important overall conclusion is that face-to-face contact between victim and suspects is beneficial for the mediation process and subsequently repairing the harm.


Henk Ferwerda
Dr. Henk Ferwerda is criminoloog, politieonderzoeker en directeur van Bureau Beke in Arnhem. E-mail: h.ferwerda@beke.nl

Ilse van Leiden
Drs. Ilse van Leiden is psycholoog en als senior onderzoekster werkzaam bij Bureau Beke in Arnhem. E-mail: i.van.leiden@beke.nl
Artikel

Legitimiteit via procedurele rechtvaardigheid: kunnen herstelrechtelijke praktijken de maatschappelijke legitimiteit van het strafrecht verhogen?

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Veiligheid, Aflevering 2 2013
Trefwoorden procedural justice, legitimacy,, restorative justice, mediation,, perceptions of fairness
Auteurs Vicky De Mesmaecker
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Contemporary scholarly literature is full of references to the crisis of the criminal justice system. The general public seems to increasingly lose confidence in the criminal justice system and its actors. In this article we look into the potential manners in which restorative justice practices can enhance the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. Our analysis is based on the observation that by actively engaging victims and defendants in the resolution of their conflict, restorative practices seem to accommodate a necessary condition of procedural fairness. Since research on procedural justice and legitimacy in turn suggests that the legitimacy of the criminal justice system is based largely upon its perceived procedural fairness, we investigate whether participation in restorative practices improves perceptions of the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. To that end we describe the results of a qualitative study on the experiences of victims and defendants who participated in victim-offender mediation in Belgium. Relating their experiences to the antecedents of procedural justice as described in the literature, we find that restorative practices in different ways enhance perceptions of procedural fairness. Yet these perceptions do not necessarily reflect on the criminal justice system. Our analysis suggests that the degree to which the perceptions of procedural fairness resulting from participation in a restorative practice influence an individual’s perceptions of the legitimacy of the criminal justice system depends on whether the restorative practice is seen as an integral part of the criminal proceedings. We found, for example, that this is more likely to be the case if the judge at trial formally acknowledges the parties’ participation in mediation. We conclude that more research on the degree to which people perceive the restorative practice to be a part of the criminal proceedings is needed in order to further flesh out this issue.


Vicky De Mesmaecker
Dr. Vicky De Mesmaecker is vrijwillig wetenschappelijk medewerker aan het Leuvens Instituut voor Criminologie (LINC, KULeuven) en Visiting Researcher aan Yale Law School. Email: vicky.demesmaecker@law.kuleuven.be
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