- Showing 4 posts filed under: Theory [–] published between Jan 01, 2011 and Jan 31, 2011 [Show all]
Debating restorative justice
reviewed by Martin Wright:
This is the first of a new series of law books, each containing two essays of about 30,000 words on different sides of a current debate. Carolyn Hoyle suggests that there is more talk than action, and some of the action called restorative is actually punitive, such as the community service performed in conspicuous clothes. In her discussion of communitarianism she regards community participation as the presence of supporters and others at a restorative conference, but does not refer to the involvement of independent voluntary-sector mediation services (and admittedly they are thin on the ground). She considers that communitarians go too far in rejecting the state. In her view restorative justice and criminal justice are complementary: courts are necessary if the accused doesn’t admit involvement. This is true; Hoyle does not exclude the use of prison for retribution, but surely in a fully restorative system the courts would impose reparative, not punitive, sanctions. She does not explore whether these should try to be proportionate to the offender’s culpability or the harm suffered by the victim.
Promoting previously unthinkable ways
from the paper by Derek Wilson:
Building a more restorative culture in society is to: build a new practice that works critically and reflectively within existing traditions and institutions; enable people to transgress traditional boundaries and meet; support existing organisations re-envision their role in the light of a new and agreed political dispensation; and set free initiatives that are transformative because of their inclusive structures or the focus of their work.
....An initial question before reading this is “what are we restoring to?”
The story is true
Our histories, our identities, our meanings for our lives are understood in and conveyed through our stories. We often experience trauma when those stories are disrupted. The process of transcending trauma requires us to “re-story” our lives. This is true for those who are victimized but it is often true for those who offend as well....
Judicial trials are also about story. [Bruce] Jackson notes in The Story is True that trials are a competition between different ways to frame ambiguous material. They are often more about winning more than about truth; the instrument is the development of a plausible story (p. 123).
Can restorative processes serve people with limitations?
When those who have a mental illness or a behavioral problem become involved in a dispute, what processes are available to help them resolve the conflict? What about children, ten or eleven years old, who break the law? How can their disputes be effectively addressed and involve them in a meaningful way?
In the past, the court system has been the principle process offered when people cannot resolve their disputes. As the legal system is a highly technical environment, it presents obstacles for people with limited ability. In a recent blog, We Must Do Better Justice, I wrote about Daudi Beverly who was sentenced to serve a long sentence, despite years of mental illness and seven hospitalizations for emotional problems prior to his conviction.