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Healing the Circle: Exploring the Conjuncture of Peacemaking Criminology and Native Justice Initiatives

Gulati, Shruti Gola
June 4, 2015

Source: (1996) M.A. thesis, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa. Downloaded 7 March 2005.

Peacemaking criminology is a non-violent movement against oppression, social injustice and violence as found within criminology, criminal justice and Society in general. Richard Quinney proposes that crime and the criminal justice process are characterized by suffering to victims, offenders and society and that crime and justice problems may be eliminated or reduced by healing the suffering which makes them a possibility. A strategy of compassion and service is therefore advocated to affect suffering and thus crime. Peacemaking criminologists recognize the dialectical relationship between the individual and society, each shaping and being shaped by the other. It is therefore important that individuals achieve a measure of peace within themselves in order to move society in the direction of peace. To this end, peacemaking criminologists advocate spiritual practice, respect for the sacred and love as tools with which one may develop the discrimination to recognize injustice and the desire and ability to end suffering.

This thesis discusses the peacemaking potential of Native justice initiatives within the context of Canadian criminal justice. Like peacemaking which rose as a revitalization of peace and non-violence within criminology and its concerns, Native justice initiatives can be viewed as a revitalization movement which has risen in response to the injustice of the criminal process for Native people. By offering alternatives to criminal justice or healing approaches within the structure of the conventional criminal process, Native justice initiatives seek to provide healing and restoration and a meaningful delivery of justice to Native people in conflict with the law. The peacemaking potential of such alternatives lies in the observation that the current euro-based structure of criminal justice is foreign to the traditional spiritual and social understanding of Native people. Author’s abstract.


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