Restorative justice may be effective because it is a street-level meta-strategy that is responsive and relational. Nonresponsive, nonrelational strategies that are enacted from desks are less likely to be effective; best-practice strategies may be less likely to be effective than wisely sequenced meta-strategies. Responsive regulation is conceived as a strategy of moving among strategies, as opposed to selection of any best strategy. Restorative justice is a way of selecting strategies to heal the hurts of injustice. Empathic empowerment of stakeholders who take turns to speak in a circle is at the heart of its strategy for strategy selection. Restorative justice can complement responsive regulation; at their best, they are mutually constitutive. Responsive regulation may work best when restorative justice is a first preference at the base of a pyramid of strategies. Responsive regulation involves listening and flexible deliberative choice among strategies arrayed in a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid are more frequently used, noncoercive strategies of first choice. Despite encouraging evidence that restorative and responsive regulation can work better than less dynamic top-down enforcement, the effectiveness of restorative justice and responsive regulation depends mainly on the efficacy of the interventions that are responsively chosen. It is time to redirect research and development to improving the quality of restorative-responsive strategy selection and the quality of the diverse strategies on offer.
|Annual Review of Law and Social Science
|Published - 2021