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“Recreative penal justice: Contrasting retributive and recreative cosmovisions.”

Beristain, Antonio
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) In Support for crime victims in a comparative perspective, ed. Ezzat Fattah and Tony Peters, 111-125. A collection of essays dedicated to the memory of Prof. Frederic McClintock. With a preface by Ezzat Fattah and Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

With reference to their cosmovisions (fundamental worldviews), Beristain’s essay examines retributive and recreative models of criminal justice. He argues that recreative justice ought to replace retributive justice. He also argues that restorative justice ought to be replaced by recreative justice, which he sees as superior both to retributive and restorative models of justice. (In his view, recreative justice, while incorporating much of restorative justice, modifies and advances upon it.) Without elaboration, Beristain then contrasts the retributive and recreative models of criminal justice in terms of nineteen basic differences. In this essay he concentrates on three of these basic differences: crime is more of a fault due to an omission or lack than an action (a fault involving three parties or agents with varying degrees of co-responsibility – the criminal, victim, and society); justice consists in understanding the omission or lack which is crime, and then in recreating a new future or new order; and victims are protagonists of the process. Beristain concludes his essay with a sketch of the fundamental features of the new recreative model.


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