Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change (RJS4C) is a collaborative project which aims to encourage and support the development of restorative justice across Europe (Pan Europe). It seeks to achieve this by identifying, connecting and supporting a core group of persons – the ‘Core Members’ – in each participating jurisdiction, whose role it is to develop and implement a co-created strategy with a larger group of policymakers, practitioners, researchers, activists and other relevant, local parties – the ‘Stakeholder Group’. 

Partners (and promoters) of the project are Maynooth University Department of Law, Restorative Justice Nederland, European Forum for Restorative Justice.  

The project involves ten participating jurisdictions: Albania, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. In each jurisdiction, between two and four persons, drawn from policy, practice, academia and civil society, are acting as the Core Members.

The purpose of the project is threefold:

  • to contribute towards refocusing European criminal justice systems, agencies, policies and practices around restorative principles and processes;
  • to share successful strategies used in different countries to develop law, regulation, policy, practice and public awareness around restorative justice;
  • to determine how the Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2018) concerning restorative justice in criminal matters, adopted in October 2018, could be used as a vehicle to support this work.


RJS4C began in January 2019 as a voluntary initiative of its coordinators and Core Members and will last four years. It is coordinated jointly by Dr. Ian Marder (Maynooth University Department of Law), Gert Jan Slump (Restorative Justice Nederland) and Edit Törzs, Executive Director of the European Forum for Restorative Justice. 






Core Members in Italy are Professor Claudia Mazzucato (Alta Scuola “Federico Stella” sullla Giustizia Penale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) and Professor Patrizia Patrizi (Dipartimento di Scienze umanistiche e sociali, Università degli Studi di Sassari). 

Since the beginning of the project in January 2019, the core members have structured the RJS4C partnership organisation along three operational levels: 


Core Members
A national steering committee (Gruppo operativo nazionale), composed of outstanding personalities from the Ministry of Justice, the judiciary, the legal professions, the academia, the civil society. The committee is multidisciplinary and reflects the whole national territory (north, south, east and west, the islands). It represents public and academic institutions, juvenile justice and justice for adults, the civil society and the community. The  steering committee’s crucial role is to: 

  • identify problems and gaps in the implementation and development of RJ;
  • act as think tank to draft the “strategies for change”, to foster innovation in RJ and advocate the necessary changes in policy and practice;
  • reach out to the larger stakeholders group comprising restorative justice actors nationwide (e.g. restorative justice services, enforcement agencies, the judiciary, lawyers, social services, etc.);

Current members are: Valentina Alberta (defence lawyer, Milan); Guido Bertagna (VO mediator and RJ facilitator, NGO, Jesuit priest, Padua-Turin); Benedetta Bertolini (academia: criminal procedure; Trento); Marco Bouchard (magistrate, Florence); Lucia Castellano (Ministry of Justice, Department of Juvenile Justice and Community Justice, Rome); Adolfo Ceretti (academia: criminology, Milano); Carla Ciavarella (Ministry of Justice, Penitentiary Department, International Cooperation, Rome); Fabio Gianfilippi (magistrate, Spoleto); Maria Pia Giuffrida (social worker, former Ministry of Justice, now civil society and NGO, Rome and Palermo); Giovanni Grandi (academia: philosopy, Trieste); Giovanna Ichino (magistrate, Milano); Leonardo Lenzi (VO mediator and RJ facilitator, NGO, Bergamo); Gian Luigi Lepri (academia: psychology; RJ facilitator, Sassari); Ivo Lizzola (academia: education, Bergamo); Cristina Maggia (magistrate, Brescia); Grazia Mannozzi (academia: criminal law, Como); Isabella Mastropasqua (Ministry of Justice, Department of Juvenile Justice and Community Justice, Rome); Michele Passione (defence lawyer, Florence); Christian Serpelloni (defence lawyer, Verona); Sonia Specchia (Ministry of Justice, national fund accounting for fines and penalties, Rome); Cira Stefanelli (Ministry of Justice, Professional Training Directorate, Rome); Diletta Stendardi (defence lawyer, Milan).

The stakeholders' group. Thanks to regular consultation within the national steering committee a list of some 200 selected individuals and approximately 100 selected organisations have been involved. Individuals include judges and public prosecutors, lawyers, RJ facilitators, social workers, psychologists, probation officers, academics. Contacted organisations include RJ agencies, local public bodies, NGOs committed to volunteer work in prisons and community sanctions. The project goals at the stakeholders’ level are fully consistent with the scope of Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)8, as stated under Rule 1, i.e.,


  • to encourage the development and use restorative justice with respect to the criminal justice system;
  • to promote standards for the use of restorative justice in the context of the criminal procedure, 
  • to seek to safeguard participants’ rights and maximise the effectiveness of the process in meeting participants’ needs;
  • to encourage the development of innovative restorative approaches - which may fall outside of the criminal procedure - by judicial authorities, and by criminal justice and restorative justice agencies. 





RJS4C-Italy aims at:

  • Awareness raising and cultural change about restorative justice, its values and standards according to the UN Basic Principles and the 2018 Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)8 among the judiciary, prosecutors and other criminal justice authorities, legal professionals, social workers, victims and offenders, victims associations and the general public (community). 
  • Fostering and expanding equal availability and accessibility of restorative justice throughout the Country by advocating 
    • the establishment of high-quality restorative justice services, consistent with UN, EU, CE standards, at least in each judicial district in Italy, 
    • the use of high-quality restorative justice programmes, consistent with UN, EU, CE standards, at any stage of the criminal justice process regardless of the severity of the crime. 
  • Underpinning a more general criminal justice reform in favour of responsive and participatory models of criminal law and criminal justice to improve victims’ recovery, offenders’ desistance, and the general public’s trust in criminal justice, and to advocate the need to overcome over-criminalisation and overuse of punitive criminal sanctions



For more information, please contact
 Dr. Ian Marder (ian.marder@mu.ie)
 Prof. Claudia Mazzucato (claudia.mazzucato@unicatt.it
 Prof. Patrizia Patrizi (patrizi@uniss.it


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