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Recreating relationships: The interpersonal implications of restorative justice for juvenile offenders and their victims.

Poulson, Barton
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Journal of Law & Family Studies. 10(1): 161-172.

Finally, market pricing relationships are based on proportional input and output, such as pay for production or, in the
case of juvenile justice, fitting the punishment to the crime. … Together, these studies demonstrate that social relationships
are of critical importance to human cognition, well-being, and psychopathology. … Inasmuch as crimes involve
interactions between two or more people, crimes necessarily create a relationship between the offender and the victim,
although in different forms. … Then again, in the rare event that the proceedings result in a court appearance, the offender
may never take the stand to take accountability for his or her actions, or the victim may never take the stand and
be able to explain the extent of the personal injuries. … To put it another way, when people (e.g., victims, lawyers, jury
members, judges, legislators) think in these primarily emotional terms and attempt to distance themselves from the reprehensible
behavior of the offender (that is, attempt to cast off any form of relationship by placing the person entirely
outside the category of worthy people), cognitive flexibility is compromised and the possibility of a reasonable and satisfactory
resolution to the situation that honors the relationship of the victim and the offender is severely reduced. …
Moreover, restorative justice offers important behavioral benefits to the relationships formed as a result of the crime.
… Consequently, greater recognition of the social facets of standing and decision making in criminal justice may contribute
to better mental health for victims and offenders. … By properly and sensitively addressing the relational aspects
of identity and promoting healthy forms of inclusive, communal sharing relationships, the adolescent may be directed
into pathways that are much more productive and fulfilling, both personally and socially. (Author’s abstract)


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