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Desistance from crime by restorative justice practices in prisons. A qualitative comparative research between the UK and Belgium (Desistance in prison)
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Over the last fifteen years, proactive interest in Restorative Justice can clearly be observed at policy level within many European countries and within European institutions such as the Council of Europe and the European Union. While the implementation of restorative justice practices in Europe has essentially been victim-oriented, it is now increasingly focused on the moral and social rehabilitation of the offender. The capacity of restorative justice interventions to impact positively on offenders desisting from crime opens new perspectives for these practices in prisons - an area which has been very little researched. Moreover, prisons differ significantly from other social institutions in which restorative justice has been practised. Prison environments induce deprivations or 'pains' - negative psychological effects - and have their own specific culture and structures that influence their practices and the behaviour of all those present. The further development of restorative justice practices in prison designed to link to moral rehabilitation and desistance from crime, need to be created in relation to the institution's structural and cultural elements. This research proposal concerns the relationship between restorative justice practices taking place in prison and these cultural and structural elements that form the prison's essential dynamic between the institution and its inhabitants. The research seeks to identify and theoretically explain the interaction between the two and hence to inform the continuing expansion of restorative justice practices in prisons within both the Anglo-Saxon and mainland European traditions.
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