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Is There a Place for Forgiveness in the Justice System?

Worthington, Everett L
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Fordham Urban Law Journal. 27: 1721.

As Everett Worthington comments, transgressions unbalance the scales of justice – socially, emotionally, and sometimes politically. To be unforgiving in response to transgressions can be construed as having a set of “coldâ€? emotions such as resentment, bitterness, and anger. People then try to reduce unforgiveness in many ways. Justice – understood as balancing the social scales – is one way. Forgiveness is another way – seeking to achieve emotions of empathy, compassion, and other-oriented altruistic love. Worthington asserts that justice involves social processes, while forgiveness occurs within individuals. There is then a place for forgiveness in the justice system, but it is in the background rather than the foreground.


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