Special Issue "Ambitions and Critiques of Restorative Justice Post COVID-19"

A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Theo Gavrielides
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Restorative Justice for All (RJ4All) International Institute, The RJ4All Rotherhithe Community Centre, 30 Plough Way, London SE16 2LJ, UK
Interests: restorative justice; criminal justice; human rights; youth justice and policy; user-led research methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your interest in this Special Issue on ambitions and critiques of restorative justice. Independently of where you are, we are all living in unprecedented times, and life will never be the same. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed not only how we work with others and deliver services, but also our very way of living. The changes that should be anticipated in relation to justice and criminal justice will be unprecedented. Whether for financial, political or health and safety-related reasons, criminal justice institutions such as prisons, courts and probation must be reviewed.

Restorative justice has appeared in many forms around the world, with some jurisdictions welcoming it through their formal justice systems and legislation. Others continue to see it as a community-led practice that should be offered for trivial or minor harms. As the evidence is still accumulating and the debate on the contribution of restorative justice continues, this Special Issue will look back but also into the future to identify key critiques and ambitions for its theory and practice.

This Special Issue will reflect on both normative and practical matters. Practitioners and users of restorative and criminal justice, as well as researchers and scholars, are invited to submit their work. Critical perspectives, whether based on solid normative reasoning or empirical evidence, will be especially welcomed. We are particularly interested in views that explore the role of restorative justice in future policymaking and justice practice, whether within or outside the criminal justice system. Research papers, opinion pieces, commentaries, proceedings and book reviews related to the topic will all be considered.

Dr. Theo Gavrielides
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • COVID-19
  • ambitions of restorative justice
  • critiques of restorative justice
  • criminal justice policy
  • legislative reforms

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Flagrant Inequalities: A Comparison of a Restorative and a Punitive School


Abstract: Communities want schools that are safe; that foster a sense of belonging; that invite creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving; and that bring out the best in both staff and students. Schools implementing restorative justice in education (RJE) (Evans & Vaandering, 2016) find it an effective approach for improving school culture, transforming conflict, and creating just and equitable learning environments. Unfortunately, most schools in America still employ a range of zero tolerance discipline policies informed by neoliberal ideologies and a punitive pedagogy of oppression.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish RJE as an approach, philosophy, and practice capable of transforming punitive schools into restorative schools. The author uses her lived experience as a teacher and researcher to contrast the relational ecology of a restorative school, California Middle School, with that of a punitive school, Florida Middle School. The author sets the stage for this argument by stating her positionality and experiences in both kinds of schools. She then presents the context of the schools, both of which reflect disparities and challenges produced by a presently and historically racist educational system. Next, a review of the literature conveys the problems caused by zero tolerance discipline policies and offers RJE and school-wide restorative practices (SWRPs) as an antidote. Then, the author differentiates the schools according to the following five aspects of relational ecology: structure, leadership, staff, students, and response to behavioral incidents. After reflecting on the stark differences between the schools, the author introduces systems thinking and implementation science to which better position RJE as a whole-school reform rather than a way to punish students differently. The chapter concludes by emphasizing how RJE, when implemented with integrity, can be an effective approach for transforming schools, humanizing education (Freire, 2008), and creating cultures of care for all members of the school community. That said, the author cautions white restorative justice trainers, practitioners, and restorative educators about the risk of causing further harm if they do not address their own whiteness and white supremacy, which contributes to replicating oppressive racist behaviors and systems, even in a restorative school.

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