Source: (2012) Law and Contemporary Problems. 75(4):77-86.

Another sign of the Christian practice of healing memories carried into the civil imagination is restorative justice. All too briefly articulated, models of restorative justice represent a more systemic, peaceable witness that Christians, and others, contribute to a society way too committed to the violence of retributive punishment. Restorative justice is a phrase that “encompasses a variety of programs and practices” based on an “alternative framework for thinking about wrongdoing.” 11 Restorative justice is community-based and deals with offenders through a victim-oriented process of restoration. 12 Restorative approaches to criminal justice, in opposition to retributive frameworks, reject the idea that it is primarily the infliction of suffering and pain that will vindicate wrongdoing. While it is not unusual for victims (or their surrogates) and offenders to meet at some point during a restorative justice process, prominent proponents of restorative justice assert that forgiveness and reconciliation are not primary goals. Nonetheless, the context does provide a setting where some degree of either or both might occur. Restorative justice advocates should include forgiveness and reconciliation as stated goals where at all possible. (excerpt)


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