Back to RJ Archive

The Paradox of Forgiveness in Restorative Justice.

Umbreit, Mark S
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) In, Everette L. Worthington, Jr., ed., The Handbook of Forgiveness. Routledge. pp. 491-502.

The growing clinical and scholarly interest in the healing potential of forgiveness has pulled restorative justice into the limelight because of its ability to achieve emotional repair for the victim through processes that reduce vengefulness or increase empathy, factors that influence a forgiveness response. In light of the parallels, it would be tempting to align restorative justice with forgiveness and draw the erroneous conclusion that restorative justice explicitly promotes forgiveness. It is time for restorative justice proponents to clarify the question of forgiveness and provide guidance to prevent the reductionism that might otherwise simplify and distort the use of forgiveness. The purpose of this chapter, therefore, is to delineate the dimensions of forgiveness in restorative justice dialogue, review empirical and theoretical data that address forgiveness or forgiveness-related constructs in restorative justice programs and offers suggestions for clinical applications and future research. (excerpt)


AbstractCourtsForgivenessPrisonsRJ OfficeVictim Support
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