Back to RJ Archive

Paradigm Muddle: The Threat to Restorative Justice Posed by Its Merger with Community Justice

McCold, Paul
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Contemporary Justice Review 7(1): 13-35.

The restorative justice movement has great potential to reform the way society responds to crime and wrongdoing. One might logically assume that the greatest challenge to the new restorative justice paradigm is the traditional punitive criminal justice paradigm itself. A more immediate threat, however, is posed by merging community justice, another approach to reforming the justice system, with restorative justice. Community justice has superficial similarities to restorative justice but relies on the underlying authoritarian assumptions of the existing criminal justice system and on processes that exclude most of those individuals directly affected by the offense. This paper clarifies and contrasts the key elements of both the restorative justice and the community justice paradigms and explains the threat to restorative justice posed by combining and confusing the two. Author’s abstract.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now