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Restorative Justice and Punishment

Young, Richard
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In, Sean McConville, ed., Use of Punishment. Portland, Or and Devon, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 199-234.

In England and Wales, as well as many other countries throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the 1990’s showed an occurrence of similar trends in declining crime rates and expanding prison populations. However, there was a lack of evidence to suggest that the increasing use of imprisonment had contributed to a reduction in crime. During this same time period, the United Kingdom experienced a rise in restorative justice. It is argued by advocates that restorative justice can provide a viable alternative to prison with the potential to impact the crime rate. However, in order to persuade judges and magistrates that restorative justice has merit and value within the criminal process the appropriate role of restorative justice within state punishment must be addressed, providing a thorough understanding of the relationship between punishment and restorative justice. In this chapter, restorative justice is defined as an attempt to repair the harm caused by criminal behavior by giving a voice to both victims and offenders where they come together in a face-to-face meeting and between themselves to determine reparations for offenses. Restorative justice generally purposes that the offender has acknowledged responsibility for an offense. In attempting to define its role in the criminal process and relationship to punishment, the chapter examines the birth, infancy, and maturation of restorative justice, the moving beyond youth justice and viewing wider applications of restorative justice, and the acknowledgement of the punitive bite of restorative justice processes and outcomes. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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