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Restorative justice in forensic mental health settings – report by student Eliza Hew

Historically, people with serious mental illness have not been included in restorative justice practices, with exclusion hinging on the assumption that this population do not have the capacity to meaningfully participate. More recently however, literature suggests that this assumption is unsubstantiated (and discriminatory); there exist significant potential benefits for patients, staff, victims and the broader community.

This comprehensive report considers the key practice considerations of providing any restorative intervention within forensic mental health settings including the risks, challenges and conflict that may arise.  The report also details the range of restorative justice options that are available for implementation, drawn from the (few) practice models that currently exist in Australia and overseas. While practice in this area is certainly new, potential benefits are being identified and momentum seems to be growing.

The report was authored by Eliza Hew, a third year Juris Doctor and Masters of Social Work student who completed a credited online internship with Open Circle in the second half of 2020. We thank Eliza for her commitment, professionalism and excellent work.

Read the report here.

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