Source: (2003) Utah Law Review. 2003(1): 343-374. University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Downloaded 13 October 2003.

Though much of what follows may sound like a fundamental criticism of the restorative justice movement, it is not so intended. Rather, it is an admonition to the restorative justice movement about a danger it faces, but that it can beneficially overcome, if it at least remains vigilant in detecting it and self-critical in avoiding it. It is the danger of community. Restorative justice needs something to restore, and one key thing it is very often said to restore is, in some formulation or other, “community.â€? In the language of restorative justice, “communityâ€? is the bedrock on which justice stands or the latent source of moral energy on which justice draws. But “communityâ€? is a very dangerous concept. It sometimes means very little, or nothing very coherent, and sometimes means so many things as to become useless in legal or social discourse. Sometimes the sunny harmonious sound of the very word “communityâ€? masks the conflict and uncertainty underlying legal issues. And, sometimes “communityâ€? refers to something very concrete which is actually very bad for justice. (excerpt)

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