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The Use of Restorative Justice to Inform Penalty Enhancements for Hate Crimes

Tubman-Carbone, Heather
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Paper presented at the annual meeting of the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CRIMINOLOGY, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia, Nov 14, 2007.

Hate crimes present a unique brand of violence. Compared to their non-bias motivated counterparts, hate crimes’ inherent potential for harm is increased appreciably by victim interchangeability and secondary victimization; additionally, bias crime can escalate from individual conflicts to mass disturbances. These features of hate crimes render them subject to penalty enhancements under law in the United States. However, analysis of the current implementation of penalty enhancements illustrates the discord between their intended purpose and that which they ultimately serve. Penalty enhancements are overwhelmingly punitive and offender based. The unique harm of hate crimes, and justification for penalty enhancements is victim-based. The restorative justice model offers an alternative. An implementation styled on restorative justice addresses those aspects of hate crimes which warrant the enhancement. This paper employs the terminology of restorative justice style. Rather than adhering strictly to the restorative model, the process at issue will take place within the system and its goal will be to provide a restorative component which may differ from the sentencing goal for the underlying offense. The restorative justice model serves the needs of penalty enhancements without being impeded by controversy concerning its standing as a goal or model of punishment. This has the greatest potential for effectiveness with juveniles convicted of misdemeanors. (author’s abstract)


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