A Different Kind of Justice tells the story of two people who met across a table in a restorative justice (RJ) conference, facilitated by Karl James, an RJ professional. Margaret’s home is robbed; Ian, a burglar and heroin addict, took a few small items, including a laptop with all her family photos. Margaret reveals that her daughter Jessica died in a car accident a few months after the burglary and the missing photos now mean so much more to the family.
The program is essentially interviews with the two characters, intercut, as they each tell their version of their shared story. It includes a recording of the first RJ conference between Ian and Margaret. Radio Gold is what we would crudely call this audio. The program ignores many of the conventions of good journalism and I wondered how different and perhaps less successful it might have been if the interviews had been done by a journalist. The compelling talent, careful construction of narrative, clever use of silence and Karl James’ engaging style make it a powerful piece of radio.