Restorative Justice

at post-sentencing level supporting and protecting victims

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Restorative justice in Germany

By Michael Kilchling

Based on Germany's universal approach to restorative justice, its application post-sentencing has been possible for quite some time already. However, in lack of explicit legal provisions about its administration in prison settings, it has rarely been applied. Currently, however, this is about to change since some State governments have decided to push its implementation now. An overview about the legal framework of restorative justice in Germany will be provided, outlining the different ways of regulation of its application post-conviction and, in particular, in prison settings. The problems and controversies related to the implementation of restorative justice in the prison context will be addressed. In addition, some theoretical issues will be discussed regarding possible long-term effects of the extended applicability of restorative justice.

Michael Kilchling, Dr. jur., is a senior researcher at the Department of Criminology of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg/Germany (MPI) and lecturer at the University of Freiburg. He was a member of several international expert groups at the Council of Europe and the EU Commission; at the Council of Europe he was a member of the Group of Specialists on Assistance to Victims and Prevention of Victimisation at the Council of Europe which prepared the Recommendation R(2006)8 on Assistance to Crime Victims. He also participated in several international research projects related to restorative justice. Besides his academic activities, he volunteers as the chair of the board of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ); in addition he is a member of the group of experts of Victim Support Europe (VSE) and a member of the scientific council of the German association of victim support groups (ado).

The list of publications with relevance in the area of victimology includes: Opferinteressen und Strafverfolgung [interests of the victims and public prosecution] (Freiburg 1995); Reformentwurf zum strafrechtlichen Sanktionenrecht: Opferfreundlich oder nicht? [draft for a penal sanctions reform in Germany: victim-friendly or not?] (Neue Kriminalpolitik 2002/1); Victim-Offender Mediation with Juvenile Offenders in Germany (in: Mestitz, A. & Ghetti, S. (eds.): Victim-Offender Mediation with Youth Offenders in Europe. Dordrecht 2005); Die Rechtslage zur Opferbegleitung in Deutschland [the procedural framework for victim support escort in Germany] (in: Jesionek, U. & Hilf, M. (eds.): Die Begleitung des Verbrechensopfers durch den Strafprozess. Innsbruck/Wien/Bozen 2006); Victims of Terrorism Policies – Should Victims of Terrorism be Treated Differently? (European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 2007, co-author Hans-Jörg Albrecht); Veränderte Perspektiven auf die Rolle des Opfers im gesellschaftlichen, sozialwissenschaftlichen und rechtspolitischen Diskurs [new perspectives in the discourse in society, social sciences and jurisprudence on the role of the victim] (in: Hartmann, J. & ado e.V. (eds.): Perspektiven professioneller Opferhilfe. Wiesbaden 2010); Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Victim Participation in Justice – International Perspectives (co-edited together with Edna Erez and Jo-Anne Wemmers. Durham 2011); Restorative Justice Developments in Germany (in: Miers, D. & Aertsen, I. (eds.): Regulating Restorative Justice. A Comparative Study of Legislative Provisions in European Countries. Frankfurt 2012).

Further information including a full list of publications and conference papers is available at


With the financial support from the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibilty of "Schleswig-Holsteinischer Verband für soziale Strafrechtpflege; Straffälligen- und Opferhilfe e.V" and can in no way be taken to refect the views of the European Commission.