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“Introduction: Multifaith reflection on criminal justice.”

Hadley, Michael L.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In The spiritual roots of restorative justice, ed. Michael L. Hadley, 1-29. With an introduction by Michael L. Hadley. SUNY series in religious studies, ed. Harold Coward. Albany, New York, USA: State University of New York Press.

In this substantial introduction to multifaith reflection on criminal justice, Hadley notes that, except for specialized Christian studies, the relationship between spirituality and criminal justice has been largely overlooked in current scholarly and popular accounts of restorative justice. Yet, he argues, there are compelling reasons to examine the relationships between religion and law and between crime and punishment. Through such an examination, he maintains, the basis can be laid for recommendations on the implementation of restorative principles in pluralistic, multicultural societies. Hadley acknowledges this effort runs contrary to the secularizing tendencies in modern societies to relegate religion to the purely private and personal sphere, walled off from influence on public life. In reality, this leads to secularism as the dominant faith. Hadley counters by stating that public policies must take the role of religion in criminal justice seriously. Specifically, he argues for restorative justice, with its spiritual roots and values, as a more morally and emotionally satisfying and effective model for criminal justice than the current state-centered, retributive model.


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