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Restorative Justice in Everyday Life: Beyond the Formal Ritual

Wachtel, Ted
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) Paper presented at the Reshaping Australian Institutions Conference: Restorative Justice and Civil Society. The Australian National University, Canberra, 16-18 February 1999.

Wachtel, arguing that occasional or limited use of restorative principles and practices is ineffectual and inconsistent, makes the following points for restorative principles and practices throughout society. Punishment in response to crime and other wrongdoing is the prevailing practice, not just in criminal justice systems but throughout most modern societies. Punishment is usually seen as the most appropriate response to crime and to wrongdoing in schools, families and workplaces. However, Wachtel contends, if systems are not innately restorative, then they cannot hope to affect change simply by providing an occasional restorative intervention. Restorative practices must be systemic, not situational. For example, it is ineffectual and inconsistent to be restorative with students but retributive with faculty. The same is true with punitive police and restorative courts. To accomplish meaningful and lasting change, restorative justice must be perceived as a social movement dedicated to making restorative practices integral to everyday life.


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