Source: (2001) Crime Victims Report 4 (January/February): 81, 92-93.
Van Ness and Strong note the analysis of the current interest in restitution and other aspects of restorative justice as a rediscovery of an old approach to crime and justice, an approach centered in community well-being and transactions between the offender and the victim to satisfy the injury caused by the offense. The authors point to ancient roots of restitution in small non-state societies, in larger societies with formal legal codes, and in the Old Testament. They then trace the demise of restitution in Europe and the rise of state-centered conceptions of crime and punishment. Early reform movements (e.g., in eighteenth century England) sought change by focusing on rehabilitation of offenders. Van Ness and Strong maintain that rehabilitation can in fact be good and effective to pursue, but that it should be complemented by goals and processes intended to address the needs and rights of victims.
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