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Three justice orientations (or two?)

September 8, 2009

In my comment on his blog I wrote:

In 1970, John Griffiths wrote a response to Packer in which he said
that the two models of crime control and due process were really a
single model, which he called the battle model. To demonstrate that
operating within the battle model limits our ability to see
alternatives, he presented what he called the family model as an
alternative. He does not appear to be seriously proposing this as an
approach to criminal justice. His is an intellectual exercise.

However, the family model has a number of restorative dimensions.
I’ll just quote from Restoring Justice by Karen Strong and myself (pp

“Whereas Packer’s adversarial models assumed disharmony and
fundamentally irreconcilable interests amounting to a state of war,
Griffiths proposed assuming ‘reconcilable — even mutually supportive —
interests, a state of love.’ This would, he argued, significantly
change our concepts of crime and the criminal. We would see crime as
only one of a variety of relationships between the state and the
accused, just as disobedience by children is only one dimension of
their relationship with their parents. Furthermore, we would treat
crime as normal behavior, expected even if not condoned. We would view
criminals as people like us, not members of a special and deviant class
of people. Furthermore, we would emphasize self-control rather than the
imposition of external controls, and would assign the criminal process
an educational function, teaching those who observe it by what it does
and how it does it.”

The contribution Howard has made is to place restorative
justice inside the battle model, which is so overwhelming the dominant model that we need to do that in order to
communicate with others who assume that is the only model.

The contribution Griffiths made is to remind us that there are new ideas to be found by stepping outside the battle model entirely.

Both are important contributions.

BTW: Griffths article is “Ideology in Criminal Procedure or a Third ‘Model” of the Criminal Process,” Yale Law Journal 79 (1970) 359.


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