Restorative justice in prison in relation to Foucault's perspectives.

Bart Claes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


The concept of restorative justice has, in recent years, attracted much attention from penal reformers, justice activists, criminologists and others within the field of criminal justice. Restorative justice initiatives transcended prison walls. Practices and experimenting with the application of the principles of restorative justice within prison settings, are now part of the Belgian prison praxis. The introduction of new ideas, practices in prison settings in order to reform and control their function is a phenomenon almost as old as the prison itself.

Throughout his oeuvre, the French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) focused on reconfigurations of knowledge which eventually came to known as the human sciences. The work best known to criminologists seems to be Discipline and Punish where Foucault gives a detailed analysis of the mechanisms of power in the nineteenth-century prison that offered a new way of thinking about imprisonment. Next to this the concept of governmentality developed by Michel Foucault in the later years of his life has been elaborated further in the social sciences.

This paper explores some of Foucault's perspectives, ideas and analyses in relation to restorative justice practices in Belgian prisons. What questions could be posed in doing research on a new phenomenon like restorative justice practices and principles in a prison setting?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication6the Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology
EditorsEsc Lubljana
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2009
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009


ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet

Bibliographical note

ESC Lubljana


  • restorative justice
  • prison
  • Michel Foucault
  • governmentality


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