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General Issue

The Potential of Restorative Justice in Promoting Environmental Offenders’ Acceptance of Responsibility

Author

Hadeel Al-Alosi and Mark Hamilton

Restorative justice conferencing offers promise in dealing with the harm flowing from environmental crimes. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime outlined four critical ingredients necessary for restorative justice to achieve its objectives. One of these critical ingredients is that the offender accepts responsibility for the offence. In another article, we explored this requirement, outlining how contrition and remorse can be evidence of an acceptance of responsibility. In this article, we go further by questioning whether environmental crime offenders who do not accept responsibility for the offending should necessarily be excluded from participating in restorative justice conferencing. As will be seen, the benefits of conferencing with offenders who seem reluctant to accept responsibility may outweigh its disadvantages. This is particularly because the facilitated dialogue can provide a golden opportunity for the offender to come to realise the harm caused by their offending and its impact on victims.

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