Back to RJ Archive

Restoring Respect for Justice. A Symposium.

Wright, Martin
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) Winchester: Waterside Press.

The symposium occurred in a British context, generally taking the institutions and legislation of England and Wales as its reference point. The Politician speaks about the idea that “prison works” by keeping offenders out of circulation and proposes a financial incentive scheme for strengthening noncustodial resources. The Psychologist considers individual deterrence, the conventional wisdom that punishment extinguishes particular forms of behavior, and examines the criminal justice system in the context of psychological studies. The main alternative to punishment for more than a century has been rehabilitation, and the Probation Officer explores the strengths and weaknesses of this concept. The Victim Assistance Worker considers recent moves to make the criminal process less of an ordeal for victims, and questions whether these reforms can ever be adequate while the basis of the system remains the same. Next, the Judge explains the dilemmas created for her and her colleagues by the present situation, with particular reference to general deterrence. The last two speakers are the Philosopher, who addresses both the rationality and the ethics of various ways of responding to crime, with special reference to the concept of proportionate “just deserts”; and the Mediator, who describes a system based on a new philosophical approach and answers some related questions. Also taking part in the symposium was the Civil Servant, who does not express opinions but provides some background facts and figures relevant to the statements of the other speakers. Reprinted in 2008.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now