Embraced with zeal by a wide array of activists and policymakers, the restorative justice movement has made promises to reduce the disproportionate rates of Aboriginal involvement in crime and the criminal justice system and to offer a healing model suitable to Aboriginal communities. Such promises should be the focus of considerable critical analysis and evaluation, yet this kind of scrutiny has largely been absent. 'Will the Circle be Unbroken?' explores and confronts the potential and pitfalls of restorative justice, offering a much-needed critical perspective. Drawing on their shared experiences working with Aboriginal communities, Jane Dickson-Gilmore and Carol LaPrairie examine the outcomes of restorative justice projects, paying special attention to such prominent programs as conferencing, sentencing circles, and healing circles. They also look to Aboriginal justice reforms in other countries, comparing and contrasting Canadian reforms with the restorative efforts in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. 'Will the Circle be Unbroken?' provides a comprehensive overview of the critical issues in Aboriginal and restorative justice, placing these in the context of community. It examines the essential role of community in furthering both Aboriginal and n-Aboriginal aspirations for restorative justice.
Jane Dickson-Gilmore is an associate professor in the Department of Law at Carleton University. Carol La Prairie is a consulting criminologist and a former senior researcher with the Departments of the Solicitor General and Justice of the Government of Canada.