Source: (2002) Theoretical Criminology. 6 (3):299-317.

Changes in the public sphere and emotional culture of late modern societies are responsible for the re-emotionalization of the penal realm. Judges were the first to remake the courts and the criminal justice system as a public space of emotions. The fact that restorative justice has become the most successful reform movement in criminal justice worldwide shows that the return of emotions has struck a chord in the system and with the public. Restorative justice makes clear the emotional connection between the victim, the offender, and those that impose punishment. The changes in public and political discourse about crime can be seen in the media, crime policies, and in the political arena. There are problems that consequently emerge in the criminal justice system due to the return of emotion. It is suggested that criminal justice is not based on specific basic emotions that are “primordialâ€? to its existence, but the specific institutional and cultural pattern in which these emotions are embedded constitute and define the emotional reaction. The quest for authentic emotions and the fact that they are “invisibleâ€? contradict each other, and people will hide many if not most of them. Contemporary emotion theory does not conceptualize emotions as “unitary, elementary entitiesâ€? but as “multi-componential phenomena.â€? This perspective is based on the notion that human beings have a universal emotional potential, but that this is realized in actual emotional practices and in concrete social and cultural settings. The recent discourse about law and emotions has been dominated by three emotions--disgust, anger, and shame. There is a strong consensus that emotions could and should be used in the legal sphere and in lawmaking more than in the past. Anger is the emotion most clearly linked to concerns and values about justice and fair treatment. Shame, remorse, and guilt are emotions most closely linked to the criminal justice system and the community it represents.