Volume 1, Issue 1, June 1998
ISSN 1096-4886 http://www.westerncriminology.org/Western_Criminology_Review.htm
We devote our inaugural issue of the Western Criminology Review to the topic of restorative justice. The restorative justice movement deserves our undivided attention as a potential alternative to present responses to crime. Today there is much discussion about restorative justice, numerous calls for its implementation, and some critical response. It is clear that the public, our political leadership, numerous organizations involved in crime control, mainstream criminology, and many others need to learn what restorative justice means and how victims, society, and offenders can benefit from it.
These papers examine theory, practice, and reform related to restorative justice. Victim-offender mediation and family group counseling receive the most attention, and to a lesser extent other restorative processes.The lead article by Mark Umbreit (his keynote speech to the 1998 WSC meetings) places the varied forms of restorative justice in an international and national context and focuses attention on victim-offender mediation. Allison Morris and Gabrielle Maxwell examine the practice of family group counseling among juveniles in New Zealand. John Gehm provides an in-depth look at participation in victim-offender mediation, the possible consequences for offenders, and various theories about why victims become involved in mediation. Gordon Bazemore looks at the potential role of juvenile court judges in the implementation of restorative justice, using the focus group method. Mara Schiff systematically details the methodological issues surrounding restorative justice and offers guidance to future research in this area.
Finally, we also include the Proceedings of the Western Society of Criminology. Restorative justice was the theme of the 25th annual conference of the Western Society of Criminology (WSC), held in Newport Beach, California.
This is a proud moment for the WSC. After a quarter century of work toward creating a more equitable and just society, we have finally seized the moment to charter a new course by publishing a free, peer reviewed electronic journal. It is sure to enliven and broaden our perspectives in profound ways over the years to come.
On behalf of the WSC, I hope that you enjoy this and subsequent issues of the WCR.
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