Source: (2000) Paper presented at the Fourth International Conference of the International Network for Research on Restorative Justice for Juveniles. Tübingen, Germany, 1-4 October.

Currently in many criminal justice systems there are two divergent trends: increasing insistence on “zero tolerance�? for crime (meaning more prosecutions and stiffer, more uniform sentencing); and increasing advocacy of discretionary alternatives to conclude cases before full adjudication through the courts, or to create more flexible sentencing options. Primarily within the Swedish context, Lindstrom examines these realities, with particular reference to shoplifting, including among juveniles. He argues that abandoning discretionary alternatives in favor of strict “zero tolerance�? will not increase public safety, and will not redress the harm caused by crime, but will overwhelm the criminal justice system.