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Probation, Punishment and Restorative Justice: Should Altruism be Engaged in Punishment?

Duff, R. A.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Howard Journal of Criminal Justice. 42(2): 181 to 197.

This article presents a new conception of punishment, claiming that probation should be justified and administered as a punishment, something imposed on or required of offenders with the intent to be burdensome or uncomfortable.Today, probation is officially and formally recognized in England as a punishment, counting as a sentence. There are many that resist the idea of probation as punishment and believe that in order for probation to retain its value and legitimacy it must remain an alternative to punishment. This article sketches a conception of punishment as a communicative penance with probation officers playing the role of administrators of sentences and as mediators between victims, offenders, and victims. Probation should be understood as a mode of punishment or a mode of constructive punishment, seeking to bring offenders to face up to the effects and implications of their crimes, through rehabilitation and advocating restorative justice. The article argues that probation, properly understood, should ideally constitute not an alternative to punishment, but a model of punishment; what punishment ought to be. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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