Restorative justice is a contested term with a contested history because it has emerged within a context of social reform movements. The chapter will critically review the modern history of the restorative justice movement by deconstructing the legal, political and social agendas that have contributed to the programmes, principles, practices and philosophy of restorative justice. It is common to note that the principles and practices of restorative justice are “not new” because elements of this contemporary philosophy can be found in indigenous and non-Western conflict resolution and within major religious traditions. This chapter will examine the reservoir of ideas retrieved from the past, demonstrate how these ideas are refashioned to serve diverse agendas and provide an overview of the contemporary context within which restorative practices are situated.