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Is Restorative Justice Possible Without a Parallel System for Victims?

Herman, Susan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Howard Zehr and Barb Toews, eds., Critical Issues in Restorative Justice. Monsey, New York and Cullompton, Devon, UK: Criminal Justice Press and Willan Publishing. Pp. 75-83.

In the last thirty years, many reforms and legal protections have been enacted on behalf of victims of crime. Yet, says Susan Herman, many victims continue to feel ignored, excluded, and profoundly disrespected by the criminal justice system. In view of this situation, Herman asks whether restorative justice provides a sufficient framework for addressing victims’ needs, especially given the fact that proponents of restorative justice often present it as an alternative to the criminal justice system, an alternative that has the potential to address victims’ needs. After engaging this question, she concludes that restorative justice offers much of value but still falls short for victims in critical ways. Hence, Herman proposes a parallel justice framework in which there would be two separate responses to crime: one focused on offenders; the other focused on victims.


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