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“Justice: Stumbling Toward a Restorative Ideal.”

Zehr, Howard
June 4, 2015

Source: (1989) In: P. Arthur (ed.), Justice: The Restorative Vision. New Perspectives on Crime and Justice (Issue #7). Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee Office of Criminal Justice, pp. 1-15.

This essay contrasts two perceptions of crime: retributive justice and restorative justice, pointing out that retributive justice emphasizes punishment while restorative justice emphasizes the offender’s obligations to the victim. Punishment has failed as a deterrent. Restorative justice, on the other hand, would take away the State’s power to punish criminals and focus instead on how the offender could repair the damage done to crime victims and himself. Low incarceration rates in the Netherlands should be examined as well as victim-offender mediation programs carried out in Great Britain. It is important to search for a new understanding of the role of the criminal justice system and a new language of justice.


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