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Justice in the Community: The New Zealand Experience.

McElrea, F W M
June 4, 2015

Source: (1994) In Jonathan Burnside and Nicola Baker, eds., Relational Justice: Repairing the Breach. Winchester: Waterside Press. Chapter 7. Downloaded 2 November 2005.

What is the prospect of public acceptance of such a model of criminal justice?
Properly explained, I believe it is good, and this for a host of reasons. It is not a soft
system. Facing a victim is commonly said to be far harder than facing a court. FGC
plans are are often both tougher and more imaginative than court-imposed
sentences. An acceptance of responsibility for one’s own actions is an ideal that few
would oppose. The strengthening of family and community-based relationships could
not be politically unpopular. A much better deal for victims is what the public has
long sought. A lesser role for the State and a greater role for local communities is
consistent with reforms underway in many Western countries. There is also the
prospect of fiscal savings from the reduced use of courts and prisons, although offset
against this must be the cost of putting more resources into the community. The idea
of negotiated justice is either accepted or gaining ground in other contexts, such as
the use of mediation in family courts and in civil litigation. And finally, there is ample
evidence that the public is not as vengeful as some politicians seem to think. (excerpt)


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