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Not Punishing Children, but Committing them to Restore

Walgrave, Lode
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) In, Ido Weijers and Anthony Duff, eds., Punishing Juveniles: Principle and Critique. Oxford: Hart Publishing. P. 93-114.

Lode Walgrave argues in this essay that we should not punish children but commit them to restore. Specifically, he claims that the demand for punishment in response to crime is ethically problematic and socially destructive; hence, it should be avoided. Educative arguments in favor of punishing children in a juridical system are wrong. That is, using the juvenile justice system primarily to try to re-educate young offenders is not realistic and causes many problems with regard to legal safeguards. Another way must be found to deal with young offenders, and restorative justice offers the best approach. The substance of Walgrave’s argument is detailed in sections on the nature and use of punishment, the question of a special system for juveniles, the idea and practice of restorative justice, and a maximalist perspective on the implementation of restorative justice.


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