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Restorative Justice, Punishment, and Atonement

Garvey, Stephen P.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Utah Law Review. 2003(1): 303-317. University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Downloaded 13 October 2003.

Stephen Garvey begins this paper with a sketch of restorative justice, with particular attention to two assertions touted by advocates of restorative justice: (a) restorative justice is a better approach because it pursues restoration, whereas retributive justice imposes punishment on an offender; and (b) restorative justice is a better approach because it seeks to restore the victim, whereas retributive justice focuses only on punishment of the offender and ignores the victim. Garvey takes issue with these assertions of restorative justice advocates. Specifically, Garvey makes two arguments: (a) restorative justice cannot achieve restoration of the victim without the punishment it rejects; and (b) restorative justice does not actually or wholly eliminate punishment; rather, restorative justice transforms punishment into a secular penance which sets the stage for reconciliation between and atonement of offender and victim.


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