Justice, Responsive Regulation, and Democratic Governance
Paul Adams Guest Editor
Restorative justice has been a central tradition of justice in most,
perhaps all societies prior to the emergence of the modern, central
state power with its bureaucratic-professional systems and its emphasis
on retribution, deterrence, and, sometimes, rehabilitation. Its revival
as a new social movement in modern states offers a new paradigm for
addressing the key questions in social work and social welfare of the
relation of formal to informal systems of care and control, and of empowerment
to coercion. Restorative justice may be defined in terms of process
one whereby all stakeholders come together to resolve how to deal with
the aftermath of an offense and its implications for the futureor
in terms of its core valueshealing rather than hurting, moral
learning, community participation and caring, respectful dialogue, forgiveness,
responsibility, apology, and setting things right or making amends.
in this issue take as their starting point the recent path-breaking
book by renowned Australian scholar John Braithwaite (2002), Restorative
Justice and Responsive Regulation. Braithwaite is Professor of Law at
Australian National University in Canberra and heads the Regulatory
Institutions Network there. He is a business regulatory scholar, sociologist,
criminologist, activist, and leading researcher on both restorative
justice and responsive regulation, as well as a scholar of democratic
theory. In Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation, Braithwaite
synthesizes recent research and conceptual analysis of restorative justice
and integrates them with his work on responsive regulation of business.
Braithwaite not only demonstrates the superior effectiveness of restoring
victims, offenders, and communities compared with punitive practices
of modern judicial systems; he also shows how the experience of responsive
regulation of businessutilizing a regulatory pyramid to ensure
compliance and restorative justice practices can enrich each other.
In the form of family group conferencing, restorative practices have
already had an important impact on child welfare and youth justice,
both in the United States and in many other countries. The integration
of restorative justice and responsive regulation presented by Braithwaite
offers an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of this new
paradigm and, indeed, achieve greater clarity about the very nature
of social work and social welfare.
consider the relation of restorative justice to responsive regulationor
more generally, to democratic governance by examining areas where
restorative justice and family group or community conferencing have
had most influence in social welfarechild protection, domestic
violence, and youth justice. Restorative and regulatory justice has
much wider application, to areas as various as school bullying, international
peacemaking, nursing home or nuclear power plant regulation, and radical
reform of the whole legal system, and Braithwaite has studied all of
them. The aim of this issue is more modest to focus the attention
of scholars and practitioners working at the interface of sociology
and social welfare on the importance for this field of Braithwaites
synthesis of restorative justice and responsive regulation.
Each of the
authors writes out of a conviction of the importance for social work
of the theory and research reviewed and developed by Braithwaite, but
there is also caution about the infancy of research in this field and
the need to avoid grandiose claims. At the same time, a sense of the
broad significance of this synthesis of restorative justice and responsive
regulation for social welfare policy, for building a richly participative
civil society, and for democratic governance pervades many of the contributions.
The first essay,
by Burford and Adams, while not an introduction to each of the other
articles, offers a context for reading both them and Braithwaites
work as contributions to the literature of social work and social welfare.
The final article is an invited response by Braithwaite to this special
issue. It takes up, highlights, and clarifies many of the issues
As guest editor,
I would like to thank Gale Burford for inspiring me to take on and persevere
with this project, and Susan Chandler and Kalei Kanuha for their participation
in the manuscript review process. Above all, I would like to thank John
Braithwaite for his international leadership, as scholar and activist,
in the effort to build more just and democratic societies throughout
the world, and for graciously agreeing to read and respond to the articles
Justice, Responsive Regulation and Social Work
Gale Burford University of Vermont Paul Adams University of Hawaii
Two of the dichotomies or tensions at the heart of this profession are
especially important for the themes of this special issue on restorative
justice and responsive regulation. These are the relation between formal
and informal helping and between care and control, or empowerment and
coercion. In this article, we make a case for the importance of Braithwaites
work, especially his (2002) book, Restorative Justice and Responsive
Regulation, for conceptualizing the nature of social work in relation
to these dualities. Since Braithwaites writings do not have social
work or social welfare scholars and professionals as their primary audience
and are less familiar to much of that audience than they should be,
we seek here to provide a context for reading both Braithwaite and this
issue of the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare.
to Stop Domestic Violence: State-Community Partnerships and the Changing
Meaning of Public and Private
Kristin A. Kelly University of Connecticut
The increasing reliance in the United States on state-community partnerships
to address social problems represents both new opportunities and new
dangers. This article presents examples of both possibilities through
a consideration of contemporary collaborations between state and nonstate
actors in the development of a public response to domestic violence.
This discussion provides the basis for an elaboration of a conceptual
approach to public/private relationships that replaces the traditional
dichotomy with a triangular relationship, of state, family and community.
By improving on our ability to think through the complex relationships
between these three spheres, it is argued that this model that can assist
those who are committed to pursuing the positive potential of community-state
partnerships while avoiding their dangers. John Braithwaites theory
of responsive regulation, and the regulatory pyramid that structures
its operation, is discussed in terms of its ability to provide additional
insights into the relationship between formal and informal responses
to social problems.
the Criminal Justice Paradigm: A Radical Restorative Justice Approach
to Intimate Abuse
Peggy Grauwiler and Linda G. Mills New York University
This article traces the history of the development of the treatment
of domestic violence as a crime in the United States and the conceptual
and practical limitations of this approach in addressing this important
social issue. An extensive body of research on restorative justice practice
suggests that restorative approaches may contribute to reducing and
preventing family violence. Drawing on restorative justice principles,
an alternative or supplement to criminal justice approaches is outlined
for working with all parties involved in abusive relationships.
Managing Social ConflictThe Evolution of a Practical Theory
David B. Moore Consultant, Sydney, Australia
This article describes the co-evolution of a process and a theory. Through
the 1990s, the process known as conferencing moved beyond
child welfare and youth justice, to applications in schools, neighbourhoods,
and workplaces. In each of these applications, conferencing has assisted
participants to acknowledge and transform interpersonal conflict, as
a prelude to negotiating a plan of action. Much analysis of conferencing
has been linked with social theorist John Braithwaite, whose work has
influenced the development of a multidisciplinary theory of these process
dynamics, and the development of guiding principles. Key links between
theory and practice are described in chronological sequence.
Regulation in Child Welfare: Systemic Challenges to Mainstreaming the
Family Group Conference
Paul Adams and Susan M. Chandler University of Hawaii at Manoa
The purpose of this article is to examine the challenges inherent in
transforming child welfare services.We apply Braithwaites model
of responsive regulation to the restorative practice of family group
conferencing in child welfare. Shifting the role of the state away from
controller of families in the child protective services system to one
of regulatory partner with them is extraordinarily difficult. The paper
looks at the complexities of reorienting child welfare services through
the use of family group conferences on a large scale.
Conferencing in Child Welfare: Responsive and Regulatory Interfaces
Joan Pennell North Carolina State University
A regulatory approach compels the child welfare worker to make decisions
according to set procedures and prevents responding flexibly to families.
Differential response is a way that child welfare is departing from
legal formalism. One means is convening a family group conference (FGC)
to develop a plan. John Braithwaites regulatory pyramid assists
in conceptualizing differential response. This article reports a factor
analysis of data on achievement of FGC objectives to elaborate three
interfaces for fostering responsive regulation. Each interface keeps
the family group at the center of planning while firmly maintaining
their connections with community and government programs.
Justice in Child Protection
Rob Neff School of Social Work University of Hawaii-Manoa
As formal systems for the protection of children have evolved in this
country, certain barriers to achieving justice within the child protection
system have emerged concomitantly. Specifically, these barriers involve
ambiguous definitions of abuse and the appearance of social inequality
and bias within the child protection system. One means of surmounting
these barriers to justice is family group conferencing (FGC). Support
for this assertion comes from the integration of the restorative justice
model and procedural justice theory. When applied to the practice of
FMCS in child protection, the integration of these theoretical perspectives
provides a strong rationale for the use of FGC and a theoretical framework
from which the outcomes and causal mechanisms of FGCs may be evaluated.
with the People: Family Group Conferencing as a Democratic Experiment
Lisa Merkel-Holguin American Humane Childrens Services
Can family group conferencing be leveraged to promote the democratic
ideals of voice, freedom, justice, fairness, equality, and respect,
and provide the citizenry with the opportunity to build a more just
and civil society? This article reviews family group conferencing, and
various model adaptations, from a democratic context and through the
lens of responsive regulation.
Interventions in Child Protection: Learning from Contextual Integrated
David Stuart Crampton Case Western Reserve University Mandel School
of Applied Social Sciences
The use of family group conferencing and related family involvement
interventions in child protection is rapidly increasing in the United
States and many other countries. There is some concern that the child
welfare field will travel down the same road as it did with intensive
family preservation services; that is, tremendous enthusiasm later derailed
by rigidly designed evaluations that showed unimpressive effects. The
work of John Braithwaite suggests an alternative path for finding justifiable
excitement about these interventions. Drawing upon Braithwaites
writings and ongoing evaluation research, this article suggests a few
steps we can take towards an integrative strategy for developing effective
family involvement interventions.
and the Republic
John Braithwaite Australian National University
Restorative and responsive justice can be a strategy of social work
practice that builds democracy bottom-up by seeing families as building
blocks of democracy and fonts of democratic sentiment. At the same time,
because families are sites of the worst kinds of tyranny and the worst
kinds of neglect, a rule of law is needed that imposes public human
rights obligations on families. The republican ideal is that this rule
of law that constrains people in families should come from the people.
Restorative and responsive justice has a strategy for the justice of
the people to bubble up into the justice of the law and for the justice
of the law to filter down into the justice of the people. The role of
the social worker is to be a bridge across which both those democratic
impulses are enabled to flow. The empowering side of the social work
role fits the first side of the duality where the will of families bubble
up; the coercive side of the social work role fits the second where
the justice of the law filters down.
Social Work Practice: A Macro Level Approach.
John T. Pardeck (Ed.)
Reviewed by: Marsha Blachman
Growth and Convergence
in Metropolitan America.
Janet Rothenberg Pack,
Reviewed by Joseph A. Deering
and Manners: The Case Management of Severe Mental Illness.
Reviewed by Rafael Herrera
Issues in Social Policy.
Howard Jacob Karger, James Midgley and C. Brene Brown (Eds.),
Reviewed by Mizanur R. Miah
International Health: The Challenge of Equity.
Gita Sen, Asha George and Piroska Ösltin (Eds.)
Reviewed by Deborah Schild Wilkinson
A Strengths Perspective,
VanWormer, Katherine and Davis, Diane Rae,
Reviewed by Mike Gorman
Making Men into
Fathers: Men, Masculinities, and the Social Policies of Fatherhood
Hobson, B. (Ed.)
Services to Childrens Spaces: Public Policy, Children and Childhood.
Peter Moss and Pat Petrie
the Welfare State: Political Institutions and Policy Change.
and Sven Steinmo (Eds.)
A Critical Perspective.
Ian Ferguson, Michael Lavalette and Gerry Mooney
The Power of Expectations in Schooling.
The Quiet Hand
of God: Faithbased Activism and the Public Role of Mainline Protestantism.
Robert Wuthnow and John H. Evans.