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Restorative Justice, Community Integration, and Perceived Fairness: An Exploratory Analysis.

Lemley, Ellen C
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Political Science, Washington State University.

The American criminal justice system has experienced a number of reforms since 1967. Many of these reforms represent efforts to increase the fairness of the system, to increase the participation of victims and local communities, and to encourage law abiding behavior. One of the most recent reforms is restorative justice. This reform in the system seeks to change how we currently view crime and our response to it. One of the limitations of the many studies done on restorative justice is the common failure to document how or why reintegration occurs; that is, what is the process by which reintegration happens? How would we know it if we saw it? This study presents data derived from an evaluation of a restorative justice program and addresses the aforementioned gap in the literature. Of particular interest are the attitudinal changes participants experienced regarding their feelings of community integration and perceived fairness of the system. The study suggests that perceived fairness may serve as a “gatewayâ€? attitude which moderates—indeed, possibly predicts—the feelings of integration and successful maintenance of non-offending behaviors. The thesis concludes with policy recommendations for systematic change and program design. Author’s abstract.


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