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Specifying Aims and Limits for Restorative Justice: A ‘Making Amends’ Model?

Shearing, Clifford
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In, Andrew von Hirsch, et. al., eds., Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice: Competing or Reconcilable Paradigms? Oxford and Portland, Orgeon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 21-42.

In this essay, the authors explore the feasibility of clarifying aims and limits for restorative justice. They begin by sketching a particular model of restorative justice which they term the “making amendsâ€? model. In describing this specific model of restorative justice, they also attempt to draw out some of its implications. These implications pertain to the scope of the model’s application, methods and techniques for achieving the model’s ends, criteria for evaluating success or failure, and possible requirements regarding proportionality. The authors then examine two ways in which such a model might be implemented. The first way is the more ambitious. It would be as a comprehensive sanctioning approach designed essentially to replace traditional criminal justice. The second way is more modest. It would be as a scheme for a specified range of cases, within the broader framework of a proportionality-oriented sentencing system. As a cautionary note, the authors make clear that they are not advocating the “making amendsâ€? model of restorative justice. Their analysis of it in this essay is a device to suggest how restorative justice’s aims and limits might be specified more clearly.


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