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Toward a Mid-Range Theory of Restorative Criminal Justice

McCold, Paul
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Paper presented to Restorative Practice in Action, Second International Conference on Conferencing and Circles, Toronto ONT, August 2000.

According to Paul McCold, the practice of restorative justice is older than state justice, yet only recently has restorative justice been articulated theoretically. However, after more than two decades of theorizing by many people, there is little agreement about what restorative justice is and what it is not. Hence, restorative justice has come to mean so many things that it is difficult to say what exactly it does mean in theory and practice. McCold steps into this confusion and offers a “puristâ€? model of restorative justice to clarify the principles of restorative justice. By “puristâ€? he asserts a model that has only elements of the restorative justice paradigm and no elements of the “obedienceâ€? (retributive/deterrent) or treatment paradigms. On this basis, he then develops a mid-range theory of restorative justice. By “mid-rangeâ€? he attempts a theory that does not explain all behavior but rather enough to encompass crime and wrongdoing and social responses to it. This leads to an analysis of stakeholders with respect to evaluation of the restorativeness of different models, and a typology to identify a continuum of practices from the partly to the fully restorative.


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