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“Dangers and opportunities of restorative community justice: A response to critics.”

Bazemore, Gordon
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff, 309-332. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.

In this essay Schiff and Bazemore respond to challenges or criticisms leveled against restorative justice and community justice. They deal with four major critiques of these models and practices based on them: (1) the myth of community (i.e., ambiguity in the term “communityâ€? as well as in the realities of actual communities); (2) concerns that restorative community justice perpetuates or even fosters inequalities of culture, gender, and status; (3) concerns that restorative community justice programs are not satisfactorily flexible in being responsive to stakeholder needs (as against imposing one program or process on all); and (4) the question of the relevance or irrelevance of restorative community justice to structural problems and inequalities in contexts of socialization and social control (such as schools and the workplace). While noting the legitimacy of some of these arguments, Schiff and Bazemore respond to these challenges and criticisms along two lines of argument: (1) assessing the relative adequacy or inadequacy of restorative community justice in comparison to its alternatives; and (2) scrutinizing the research basis for critiques of restorative community justice. Their hope is that restorative community justice will not fail in the face of these issues but will, over time, be able to build on them as opportunities for development and increased significance of its ideas and practices.


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