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“How to reform a Serial Killer: The Buddhist Approach to Restorative Justice.”

Loy, David R.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Journal of Buddhist Ethics. 7:145-168.

This article considers how Buddhist perspectives on crime and punishment support the contemporary movement toward restorative (in place of retributive) justice. It begins by examining the two Pàli suttas that most directly address these issues: the Aïgulimàla Sutta, about the reform of a serial killer, and the LionÕs Roar Sutta, about the responsibility of a ruler. Then it looks at the Vinaya, which has many implications for our understanding of motivation and reform, and finally at traditional Tibet to see how its criminal justice system embodied these Buddhist perspectives. It concludes with some reflections on why our present criminal justice systems serve the purposes of the state better than the needs of offenders and their victims.


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