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University of Gloucestershire academic is expert voice as Parliamentary inquiry examines use of restorative justice

The University of Gloucestershire’s Dr Jonathan Hobson has been appointed to the steering group of a groundbreaking All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry examining the use of restorative justice.

In its first major piece of work, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Restorative Justice (APPG) will look at the current use of restorative justice and practices across the UK and seek to identify focused recommendations to improve performance and outcome.

For the purposes of this inquiry, which runs until 15 August, the APPG has adopted the following definitions of restorative justice and restorative practice:

Restorative justice is the broad philosophy which argues that those most affected by harm and conflict should be involved in communicating the causes and/or consequences and empowered to make decisions about how to respond to that harm and/or resolve conflict.

Restorative practice includes all of those activities used to create a culture to proactively prevent harm and create resilient communities. This can include, but is not limited to, restorative dialogue, restorative leadership techniques, direct and indirect restorative processes.

Dr Hobson, Associate Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Gloucestershire, has been appointed to the APPG’s Advisory Board in recognition of his extensive research and expertise within the field of restorative justice and restorative practices.

The Advisory Board provides strategic counsel and support to the APPG.

Dr Hobson’s work has included studies into restorative youth interventions and examining the power of restorative justice to support and maintain peace in post-conflict situations.

He jointly organised a ‘Restorative Practices Knowledge Exchange’ that brought together more than 20 restorative justice schemes, community groups, and statutory organisations to share knowledge and experiences of building restorative services.

Dr Hobson leads the University of Gloucestershire’s ‘Advanced Restorative Practitioner Postgraduate Certificate’, the first in the country that allows practitioners to achieve advanced practitioner recognition from the Restorative Justice Council UK alongside their academic study.

In his role on the Advisory Board, which includes academics and practitioners, Dr Hobson has organised and is participating in an oral evidence session to Parliament on 8 July to help inform the APPG’s recommendations to the Government on how to better improve access to, and the delivery of, restorative justice and practice.

Dr Hobson said: “My role on the steering group is to support and encourage academic input into this groundbreaking All-Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into Restorative Practices. “Presenting evidence to Parliament alongside other academics from the UK and Ireland, we are  setting out some of the evidence base for restorative justice and restorative practice, examining a range of projects and applications, and discussing the value that academic work can bring to establishing the evidence base for restorative work.”