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Community justice: Transforming communities through restorative justice?

Crawford, Adam
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff, 127-149. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.

Crawford and Clear examine underlying assumptions of community justice and restorative justice. They summarize key elements in the conception of public safety in each paradigm: (1) focus on local or neighborhood structures and processes; (2) involvement and empowerment of ordinary local citizens; (3) reliance upon “privateâ€? and “parochialâ€? forms of social control; and (4) emphasis on a problem-solving approach to social issues. With all of this in mind, the authors first contrast community and restorative justice. Then they delineate common themes in both paradigms. They also scrutinize certain issues regarding restorative justice, particularly as restorative justice proponents seek to include both victims and communities as “stakeholdersâ€? in the aims and processes of restorative justice. Following this scrutiny, Crawford and Clear raise explicit questions about the feasibility of restoration of offenders and victims through community structures and processes. Further, they raise questions about the appropriateness of community transformation through restorative justice. For example, can restorative justice truly empower communities and make them places of justice? In the end, the authors contend that neither restorative justice nor community justice can be primary means for the development of civil and good society.


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