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The Local Provision of Restorative Justice in Scotland: an Exploratory Empirical Study

Maglione, Giuseppe; Buchan, Jamie; Robertson, Laura


Giuseppe Maglione

Laura Robertson


This article presents the results of the first empirical qualitative research on the provision of restorative justice (RJ) in Scotland, based on interviews with 14 practitioners. In Scotland, RJ has attracted the attention of penal reformers and practitioners since the late 1980s, offering an alternative to criminal justice practices based on retribution and/or rehabilitation whilst promising to reduce reoffending and heal people harmed by crime. In 2017, the Scottish Government has fully recognized the existence of RJ by issuing the first national ‘Guidance’ for the delivery of this process, followed by an ambitious ‘Action Plan’. In spite of such a long-lasting interest and recent policy recognition, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the organization and actual delivery of RJ in Scotland. In fact, research on this subject is scant, anecdotal and dated. This article addresses this knowledge gap by presenting original data on the provision of RJ within Scottish local authorities. The findings show similar understandings of RJ, context-specific organizational models and common systemic challenges characterizing RJ providers, generating evidence to critically assess recent Scottish policy on RJ, whilst drawing implications with relevance for the development of RJ across Europe.


Maglione, G., Buchan, J., & Robertson, L. (2022). The Local Provision of Restorative Justice in Scotland: an Exploratory Empirical Study. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 28, 617-640.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 27, 2020
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 15, 2020
Journal European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research
Print ISSN 0928-1371
Electronic ISSN 1572-9869
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Pages 617-640
Keywords Restorative justice, Community justice, Qualitative interviews, System-level challenges, Scotland
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