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The Place of Forgiveness in Criminal Justice: A British Perspective

Edwards, Ian
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Paper submitted for the XIth International Symposium on Victimology. 13-18 July 2003, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Downloaded 21 August 2003.

Ian Edwards begins this paper with the acknowledgement that the literature on the psychological value of forgiveness for victims and offenders is extensive. Nevertheless, the place of forgiveness as a human emotion is awkward at best in the legal process. Taking account of a person’s forgiveness in the criminal justice system raises difficult questions about the appropriate place of victims within the process. For example, a general question has to do with the place of emotion in the criminal justice process. An example of a specific question has to do with the place of forgiveness in sentencing. It is this question that Edwards considers in this paper: “What place should forgiveness have in sentencing?â€? In dealing with the question, Edwards focuses on the approach of English law in relation to the weight to be given forgiveness in sentencing decisions.


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