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From civilising punishment to civilising criminal justice: From punishment to restoration.

Walgrave, Lode
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) In, David J. Cornwell, John Blad, and Martin Wright, eds., Civilising criminal justice: An international restorative justice agenda for penal reform. pp. 347-377.

But even the best possible mode of living together will be in need of clear norms and norm enforcement. The ethical choice is responding to crime is to promote further civilisation in criminal justice. There is no reason to believe that the civilisation process of criminal punishment, as described by Elias, would have reached its finish. It can and it must be continued. After monopolising violence in the hands of the state, after making the use of violence more rational and more moderate, the next step is to push aside the use of violence itself in the response to offending. That means giving priority to solutions based on bottom-up deliberation, rather than top down imposed reactions, while keeping clear norm enforcement. Restorative justice is a paradigm that offers such a way of dealing with the aftermath of crime. Making criminal justice more civilised equals making criminal justice more restorative. (excerpt)


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