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Repeat performance: is restorative justice another good reform gone bad?

Greene, Dana
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice. 16(3):359-390.

Given the current constellation of fiscal, moral, and logistical problems facing its corrections industry, the USA is on the cusp of a widespread penal reform movement. For the past 200-plus years, each US penal reform that intended to diminish penal practices resulted in widening the reach and deepening the roots of the nation’s punishment system. The question asked here is: is the restorative justice movement in the USA headed the way of past benevolent penal reforms? A new type of social movement: the regressive social movement model is presented. Three past benevolent penal reforms – the penitentiary, the adult reformatory movement, and parole are dissected in order to formulate a regressive reform profile and tested against the restorative justice movement. Field research finds that a repeat performance of regressive reform is in progress. In each of the eight restorative justice movement, variables demonstrate characteristics evident in past benevolent penal campaigns, resulting in a redirection of the campaign’s course.(author’s abstract)


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