Source: (2004) In, Hendrik Kaptein and Marijke Malsch. Crime, Victims, and Justice. Essays on Principles and Practice. Hampshire, England and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing. Pp. 80-111.

While restorative justice ideas and practices have gained considerable currency and approval in criminology and criminal justice, questions have also arisen, writes Hendrik Kaptein. For example, typical restorative justice measures, such as victim-offender mediation, may be adequate for certain kinds of lesser crime, such as property crime. Yet would restorative justice processes be adequate for more serious and violent crime, such as murder? Is it the case that, for some kinds of crime, punishment as infliction of pain for public purposes is inescapable? As restorative justice is commonly construed and advocated, retribution and restorative justice are seen as incompatible. Is there an insurmountable predicament, then, between restorative justice and retribution when the whole scope of crimes is considered? Kaptein argues for a way out of the predicament through reinterpretation of retribution as "to pay back, to restore, in contrast to its current 'meaning' in terms of hitting back in kind or worse." In other words, retribution should mean that "offenders are to completely compensate for what they did wrong." Retribution understood as complete compensation for victims by offenders is thus to replace punishment as suffering.