Source: (2004) Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. 18: 571-603.
Victimsâ€™ rights laws and restorative justice theory appear to converge in their mutual concern for reforming criminal justice to include the people most affected by a crime. However, asks Christa Obold-Eshleman, are victimsâ€™ rights laws truly compatible with restorative justice? She contends that the answer is complex and highly dependent on oneâ€™s view of the essence of restorative justice. Hence, Obold-Eshleman cautions those interested in the restorative justice model. She argues that a shift in the underlying theory of rights is necessary to arrive at a restorative conception of victimsâ€™ rights. To make her case, she first examines the basic ideas and philosophies of restorative justice. This leads to a discussion of the main concepts and provisions in victimsâ€™ rights laws. After analyzing victimsâ€™ rights concepts in the context of a restorative justice paradigm, she identifies points where proponents of restorative justice should embrace victimsâ€™ rights, and areas where restorative justice advocates should exercise more caution with respect to the formalization of victimsâ€™ rights.
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