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Public-empowering justice: Arguments from effectiveness, legitimacy and democracy, and the South African case.

Gordon, Diana R.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Punishment and Society. 9(1):49-66.

In mature democracies citizens are being gradually empowered to make important
decisions about how to handle crime and disorder and to assume an active role in
making their communities safer. Do the justifications for this partial shift away from
the commitment to adversarial, state-centered criminal justice apply to democratizing
countries? Viewed individually, the arguments for public-empowering justice in transitional
states are all quite partial. But they can be creatively combined within a framework
that has relevance for a number of countries, especially if the argument from
democracy incorporates a deliberative perspective. Significant institutional barriers
remain, however, as illustrated by the post-apartheid South African state’s retreat from
its initial interest in community policing, lay assessors in criminal trials, and
community courts. (author’s abstract)


AbstractAfricaPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in Schools
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