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The Role of the Church in Criminal Justice Reform

Van Ness, Daniel W
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Paper presented at the Justice That Restores Forum. Orlando, FL 14-16 March 2002.

Addressing a forum on restorative justice with participants from diverse perspectives, Daniel Van Ness focuses on the role of the Christian Church in criminal justice reform, particularly reform oriented around restorative justice. Asserting that any successful reform movement in a democracy must be presented in terms that will include people from a wide variety of belief systems, he poses two questions. Why should the Church play a role in the restorative justice movement? If the Church should play a role, what role can it play? To answer these questions, Van Ness explores the past record of the Church with respect to criminal justice and criminal justice reform, reasons why many Christians oppose criminal justice reform, reasons why Christians should support criminal justice reform, and ways in which the Church can play a vital role in reform.


AbstractLiving Restoratively
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