Despite the accepted success of many restorative justice programs with youth and Indigenous offenders, debate still proliferates about the utility of adult restorative justice programs within the criminal justice system. Many important questions are raised about the efficacy and impact of such programs including: ‘What can restorative justice offer adult offenders and victims of crime? What are some of the challenges of using restorative justice in this context? And what can we learn from emerging developments in practice?’ (Bolitho et al, 2012). As will be discussed in this review, Russell Finch’s BBC Radio 4 production of A Different Kind of Justice addresses each of these questions with vigour. Narrated by ‘dialogue expert’ Karl James, the documentary explores the impact of a restorative justice program from a deeply empirical perspective. In interviewing, and then facilitating discussion between a burglar and his victim, James provides an exquisitely emotional look into the cathartic and potentially transformative impact of one particular restorative justice encounter in Blackburn, UK. A Different Kind of Justice expertly uses the interlacing of articulated memories in three distinct movements to re-tell a crime story by weaving together victim and offender perspectives, and in the process reveals not only the profound transformative effects of restorative justice on those participants, but also the impact it can have on the listener.
Recommended CitationSharp, Cassandra Dr, A Different Kind of Justice: a critical reflection, RadioDoc Review, 1(2), 2014.