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What is the Role of the State in Restorative Justice Programs?

Jantzi, Vernon
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Howard Zehr and Barb Toews, eds., Critical Issues in Restorative Justice. Monsey, New York and Cullompton, Devon, UK: Criminal Justice Press and Willan Publishing. Pp. 189-201.

In general, the state plays a significant, even critical, role in the administration of justice. Vernon Jantzi points to the political collapse in Haiti in the early 1990s to illustrate this. When the state fell into disorder and ineffectiveness, much of the country, especially in smaller and more rural areas, lacked a functioning judicial system or police force. In fact, asserts Jantzi, in areas where restorative justice had been introduced, it became the only available orderly means of dealing with wrongdoing. When political and state order returned, it revived the criminal justice system, yet it also tended to replace local conflict resolution that had operated in its absence. Beginning with this situation as a concrete example of the relationship between the state and restorative justice, Jantzi explores the multiple roles the state may have with respect to restorative justice: enabler; resource provider; implementer; guarantor of quality practice; and even offender.


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