Restorative Justice and the Future of Youth in the United Kingdom

In recent times, restorative justice has come to be loosely defined as an approach to judicial matters than focuses on the needs of the victims as well as the offenders. This approach is taken in lieu of attempting to satisfy the abstract principles of law and order or the desire of a community or individual to apply punishment. When restorative justice is applied, victims are given an active role in the dispute, while offenders often deal face pressure to deal with their actions. In order for us to evaluate the merits of restorative justice, in particular as it pertains to youth justice in the United Kingdom, we will focus first on the history of restorative justice in the U.K. Later, we will offer an analysis of the development of restorative justice policies in the United Kingdom and examine its effects on youth. Finally, we will conclude with an insightful critique of restorative justice and some suggestions for the future.In 1992 Gordon Brown, who would go on to become the Labour Prime Minister of Great Britain, proclaimed that government must not only be tough on crime, but tough on the root causes of crime. Brown’s proclamation, in this case, is truly an exercise of restorative justice principles in action. Restorative justice, although not always in name, had first became a notion of relevance in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s. However, it was not necessarily new as there had been occasional instances of victim-offender mediation by individuals for quite a long time, particularly in special schools and therapeutic communities. Most of the early mediation services were largely dependent on visions of particular people or groups, including professionals from probation and psychology, and religious groups such as Anglican clergy and Quaker meetings. Quakers in particular have had a long-standing involvement in restorative approaches.When restorative justice, in the United Kingdom, first shot to relevance in the 1970s and 1980s, many were quick to dismiss it.