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Reintegration and Restorative Justice: Towards a Theory and Practice of Informal Social Control and Support

Bazemore, Gordon
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Shadd Maruna and Russ Immarigeon, eds., After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Offender Reintegration. Devon, UK and Portland Oregon: Willan Publishing. Pp. 27-56.

The chapter first explains a normative theory of restorative justice and then considers how core principles that form the foundation of this theory and of restorative-justice practice may be used to guide intervention aimed at strengthening networks of informal control and social support. The core principles of a normative theory of restorative justice are repairing harm, stakeholder involvement, and the transformation of community and government roles in the response to crime. By involving community resources in the repairing of the harm caused by an offender through his/her offense, restorative justice emphasizes the revitalization and strengthening of community-based processes of informal social control and support. In its second part, the chapter describes general components of an intervention theory of reintegration that is grounded in naturalistic neighborhood processes, using the concept of relationship-building as the core of the intermediate outcome of the reintegration effort. The proposed general approach to reintegration envisions new spaces for relationship-building at the individual/interpersonal, institutional (e.g., school and work), and community levels. Such spaces provide a context for connecting offenders to conventional groups and individuals by using strategies that build upon the strengths of offenders, victims, and the community in which they live. The goal is to influence the attitudes and behaviors of offenders with new structures for informal social support and control. Overall, this proposed theory of reintegration based in restorative justice principles creates a new environment of relationships, experiences, and activities to replace the criminogenic conditioning and postures that led to the criminal behavior. The mechanisms of informal social control and social support create the dynamics that produce crime desistance. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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