An evaluation of restorative justice programs in Taiwan

Hsiao-Fen Huang, Yao-chung Chang

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Based on the restorative justice evaluation frameworks established by John Braithwaite and Nathan Harris, this paper will discuss and evaluate four categories of restorative justice programs in Taiwan, including (1) mediation (2) deferred prosecution and suspended sentence (3) a youth justice system and (4) a restorative justice pilot. This paper finds that current restorative justice programs in Taiwan place great emphasis on the rehabilitation of offenders and the restoration of damaged relationships. They have less regard to the aim of restoring victims and to other principles such as empowerment, active participation, acknowledgement of wrongdoing and the whole truth. The emphasis placed in Taiwan on these programs contradicts the priorities inherent in the principles that John Braithwaite and Nathan Harris propose and understates the importance of recognising the role and needs of victims. This paper concludes that, rather than pursuing certain ideological, high-level aims, restorative justice practices in Taiwan need to be more down to the earth and would benefit by taking greater account of the implementation of basic restorative justice principles. This paper suggests that future research should focus on the needs of victims in the criminal justice system. Only when the basic needs of the victims and their supporters are assured can we say that the Taiwanese judicial practice is closer to the real spirit of restorative justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71 - 101
Number of pages31
JournalCrime and Criminal Justice International
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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