Katrien Lauwaert from the EFRJ and a researcher in the ALTERNATIVE project, gives an account of the EUROCRIM conference in Porto, Portugal.
This year the annual European Society for Criminology conference, EUROCRIM 2015, was held in Porto from 2 to 5 September. More than 1400 delegates from all over Europe, the United States, Australia and Latin America came together to share and discuss their work. The RJ research community was well represented with 7 different panels. The panels covered research on developing RJ approaches in intercultural settings, RJ and desistance, victims and RJ, sexual violence and RJ, RJ and criminal justice, the gap between RJ theory and RJ practice and RJ and juvenile justice.
Inge Vanfraechem (Belgium), Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic (Serbia) and Katrien Lauwaert (EFRJ) reflected on the FP7 project ALTERNATIVE which explores the development of RJ approaches in intercultural settings. The EFRJ is a partner in this project. The outcomes of the project will be discussed more in depth during the final conference of the project which will be held in Leuven, 16-18 November 2015.
The presentations of Joanna Shapland (UK), Bart Claes (UK), Katrien Lauwaert (EFRJ) and Anna Meléndez Peretó (Spain) were very complementary and illustrated how the participation in RJ by juvenile and adult offenders in and outside the prison can contribute to the desistance process. Katrien presented the European research project ‘Desistance and RJ’ which was coordinated by the EFRJ.
Inge Vanfraechem (Belgium) and Tinneke Van Camp (UK) both tackled the issue of victims and RJ. Inge presented the outcomes of the EFRJ coordinated study on this topic and the book resulting from this project. Tinneke focused on the outcomes of her empirical research on pro-social motivations for participating in RJ.
Sexual violence and RJ was discussed by colleagues from Belgium and Australia. Ivo Aertsen (Belgium) informed the participants about the outcomes of a European research project on the potential of RJ in case of sexual violence. More information on this Daphne project can be found here. The EFRJ is a partner in this project. Bronwyn Naylor, Bebe Loff and Liz Bishop (Australia) presented a pilot project which develops community-based, victim-centred RJ for sexual violence.
RJ and criminal justice was a leading theme of two panels with the following presenters and topics: Evaluating forms of justice beyond cost-benefit analysis: the case of RJ (Gema Varona, Spain), Restorative justice at post-sentencing level (Otmar Hagemann, Germany), Mediation or conventional criminal justice? Individual and contextual factors related to the decision (Ana Catarina Pereira, Josefina Castro and Carla Cardoso, Portugal), RJ and the decision-making process : beyond deliberative democracy? (Raffaella Pallamolla, Brazil), The ethics of victimology, the morality of criminal justice (Antony Pemberton, The Netherlands), Theorising RJ within criminal justice: empowerment theory, agency and accountability (David O’Mahony and Jonathan Doak, UK) and New age, neo-liberal and moralising: locating RJ within contemporary social and political thought (Simon Green, UK).
A diverse range of topics was tackled in the panel entitled ‘From theory to practice’. Harry Blagg (Australia) gave a presentation on ‘New horizons: the global South, inter-culturality and the challenge to RJ’. Daniel Achutti (Brazil) presented his theoretical and empirical work on the development of a critical model of RJ in Latin America. Wojciech Zalewski (Poland) discussed the search of ‘the best way for RJ’. Jessica Jacobs (UK) finally presented about RJ at the pre-sentencing stage.
Juvenile justice and RJ was the common denominator for another four presentations. Marten Holmboe (Norway) analysed the Norwegian youth sanctions as between criminal procedure and RJ. Anja Mirosavljevic and Nivex Koller Trbovic (Croatia) looked at victim-offender mediation in Croatia, Cristina Goni (Italy) presented a European model for RJ with children and young people and Cedric Foussard’s topic (UK) was about intensive and remand fostering programmes as alternatives to custody for young offenders.
At the conference centre, in the beautiful and sunny city centre of Porto, the atmosphere was very welcoming; a perfect place to link up with colleagues from abroad and to return home full of energy and inspired for engaging in new research avenue