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Retribution and Restoration

During the early years of the restorative justice movement restoration was often contrasted with retribution in an attempt to illustrate what was different about restorative justice. Some proponents then and now argue that there is no place for infliction of pain in a restorative response to crime. Others have adopted the position that restorative justice actually accomplishes retributive purposes, perhaps better than conventional punishment does.

Howard Zehr developed a much-used diagram illustrating the difference between what he called retributive justice and restorative justice. More recently he has moved away from his earlier position that the two were polar opposites, apparently convinced by Conrad Brunk that this conceded too much to retributivists.

Others, however, argue that retribution is antithetical to restoration; if the purpose of justice is to repair harm, how can that be done by inflicting harm? Lode Walgrave is one of the most articulate proponents of this position.

Still others had never been convinced that the two were in opposition, reasoning that restorative outcomes require something of the offender, something they would not have done if not for the outcome.

Following are articles exploring these issues:

Zehr, Howard. Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice. 

This essay examines common assumptions about crime and justice, which it terms a "retributive" lens or paradigm, and considers historical, biblical and practical alternatives. A "restorative" model is proposed that is based on the needs of victims and offenders, past ways of responding to crime, recent experiments and biblical principles. Topics include: the experience of crime; justice as paradigm; community justice; covenant justice; and the victim-offender reconciliation program and the role of the church.

Brunk, Conrad G. Restorative justice and the philosophical theories of criminal punishment.

Brunk, observing a lack of philosophical investigation of restorative justice by philosophers and even by advocates of restorative justice, examines key issues relating to restorative justice. His aim is to demonstrate the advantages of restorative justice in addressing the questions that traditional philosophical theories of punishment have sought to answer. Fundamental ethical questions or concerns have to do with the justice of legal punishment: should anyone be punished; who should justly be punished; and what forms of punishment can justly be inflicted? Brunk discusses major approaches to these questions: retributive; utilitarian deterrence; rehabilitative; restitutionist; and then restorative. In particular he examines restorative justice in relation to the following: the retributive concern for 'just deserts'; the utilitarian concern for deterrence and social protection; the rehabilitative emphasis on a therapeutic analysis of and response to offenses; and the restitutionist emphasis on an economic construal of and response to offenses. Brunk maintains that each of the other approaches at best addresses only one of the primary ethical and jurisprudential concerns in understanding and responding to offenses. Restorative justice, as against each of the other approaches, provides a much more satisfying, comprehensive, and effective understanding of the nature of wrongdoing and how to respond to it.

Walgrave, Lode. Has Restorative Justice Appropriately Responded to Retribution Theory and Impulses?

Lode Walgrave observes at the outset of this chapter that no society can survive without rules and enforcement of those rules. In view of this, for centuries the mainstream response in the West to crime has been punishment or retribution by public authorities. Advocates of restorative justice have challenged that approach in recent decades. Along the way restorative justice itself has been challenged. One challenge has been to the opposition between retributive justice and restorative justice. Walgrave, therefore, examines the relationship between retribution and restoration. After clarifying the differences between punishment and restoration, he explores retribution as a major philosophical justification for criminal punishment. He retains one argument for punishment from this philosophical position: namely, punishment as censure of wrongful behavior. This leads to his contention that restoration is a more effective and more ethical way of censuring such behavior. Then, extending his argument through comparison of the essentials of retribution and restoration, he posits that restoration can be seen as a kind of reversed retribution.

Daly, Kathleen. Does Punishment Have a Place in Restorative Justice? 

This paper presents preliminary findings from the South Australia Juvenile Justice Research on Conferencing Project. The author urges colleagues to rethink the oppositional contrast between restorative justice and retributive justice. Her experience from observing family or diversionary conferences in Australia is that routine practices do not reflect a model of strong contrasts.

Restorative justice helps us face death
from Lorenn Walker's entry on Restorative Justice & Other Public Health Approaches for Healing: ....Restorative processes bring people face to face with terrible loss. Not only material losses, but also the painful “social losses” they suffer. Sometimes the social loss is more damaging than the material loss. Even when a life is lost, when harmed people continue being resentful and angry, their loss can remain, and diminish their capacity to be happy.
RJ to address victim distress and hold perpetrators accountable
I couldnt agree more with Kerry. There is a very strong case for galvanising the restorative movement and bringing together practitioners to work with the [...]
UK riots and restorative justice: A Northern Ireland perspective
from Janis Irving's comment on Restorative Justice International: I am employed by the Youth Justice Agency of Northern Ireland as a youth conference co-ordinator. My job is to organise restorative conferences between young people (10-18) and victims. The conferences are 'ordered' by court or public prosecution (the latter means the young person does not recieve a criminal conviction if they work with the process). At the conference the victim, young person, family and community meet to discuss what happened and agree an action plan for the young person. The action plan then goes back to the court or prosecution for final agreement and if they agree the young person must carry it out or be returned to court.
Restorative Justice
 How about having them clean up there mess and return any goods they stole..
London riots and restorative justice
Thank you for this piece. I'd like to respond to Theo. I would say that restorative justice is veyr much about restoring and repaying victims [...]
Taking away these kid's free travel and making them work twice as hard to rebuild a society they don't feel a part of is a [...]
Restorative justice and the UK riots
In the UK, Restorative justice has been debated in Parliament and appeared in policy papers more times in the last 12 months than in the [...]
A role for restorative justice post-riots?
from the blog of Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP: Last post for a while – well, for tonight anyway – on the riots. It occurs to me that this presents the best possible scenario for an absolute blitz on restorative justice, something which is often talked about in parliament and almost universally supported and praised, but never really implemented on the scale it could be.
Mayor of London's proposal for restorative justice after the riots
from the entry on CyberborisJohnson: Our Mayor has suggested that restorative justice would be a good way of facing looters with the consequences of their actions. Speaking after this morning’s COBRA meeting, the Mayor of London said that young people involved in last week’s riots would lose their rights to things like free travel, but could earn them back through restorative justice programmes, like his Payback London scheme.
'Tear up the sentencing guidelines and jail EVERY looter': Crackdown on looters revealed
from Louise Boyle's article in the Mail Online: Magistrates have been ordered to send all those involved in last week's riots and looting to jail, a court heard today. Chair of the bench at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court, Novello Noades, revealed the instructions while sentencing one looter to six months in prison. London courts had allegedly been emailed by a clerk within HM Courts and Tribunals Service, telling them to ignore normal guidelines which might have recommended non-custodial sentences for riot-related cases.
Restorative Justice
This is an alternative to the devicive method of dealing with injustice.
Can we create purely non-punitive restorative programs?
from Sylvia Clute's entry on Genuine Justice: One reason to ask this question is because there is a growing body of evidence that shows using punishment in the form of isolation, detention or suspension to address behavioral problems in schools only aggravates other issues, such as bullying, violence, substandard academic performance, the lack of parental involvement, high staff turnover and burnout. Meanwhile, restorative practices are proving to be an effective alternative to punitive measures. They provide an effective means of creating safe, supportive learning environments, often at far less cost than the punitive means, whether the cost is measured in terms of financial outlay, the time expended on discipline issues or the stress level experienced by those in the system. And restorative measures are proving to be an effective means of addressing the school-to-prison pipeline that has become of national concern. But can school or other programs be created that do not eventually resort to punitive measures for those who continue to misbehave? In researching various approaches to restorative school programs, most seem to continue the blend of restorative processes and punitive measures to varying degrees.
The power of penal populism in New Zealand from 1999 to 2008
from Tess Bartlett's abstract to her thesis: This thesis explains the rise and power of penal populism in contemporary New Zealand society. It argues that the rise of penal populism can be attributed to social, economic and political changes that have taken place in New Zealand since the post­war years. These changes undermined the prevailing penal­welfare logic that had dominated policymaking in this area since 1945. It examines the way in which ‘the public’ became more involved in the administration of penal policy from 1999 to 2008. The credibility given to a law and order referendum in 1999, which drew attention to crime victims and ‘tough on crime’ discourse, exemplified their new role. In its aftermath, greater influence was given to the public and groups speaking on its behalf.
Martin Luther King and making amends
from Sanuel Newhouse's articly in Brooklyn Daily Eagle: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” This quote by King is helping recovering drug addicts find the wisdom behind restorative justice in the Brooklyn courts. “Martin Luther King Day has really become a day of volunteer work, and encouraging people to do volunteer work,” said Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jo Ann Ferdinand, supervising judge of Brooklyn Treatment Court (BTC). Nonviolent drug-offenders and criminal defendants in the BTC receive lesser sentences for successful completion of treatment and courses. Besides basic drug rehabilitation, the BTC mandates that the drug offenders volunteer their time and “give back to the community” that they harmed.
Retributivism and Restorative Justice
from Hadar Aviram's post on California Corrections Crisis: The afternoon panels at CELS also featured wonderful work. First I heard Dena Gromet and John Darley's paper Gut reactions to Criminal Wrongdoing: The Role of Political ideology. In the paper, Gromet and Darley examine whether people's support for a retributive or restorative framework depends on reason considerations, or whether it is a gut reaction.
Nigerian lawyers insist on criminal justice reforms
from the article by John Chuks Azu on Professor Kelvin Nwosu a former Director Academics of the Nigerian Law School had argued that the country's legal system which places much emphasis on retributive rather than restorative justice "has given rise to lack of remorse on the part of offenders who now demand proof of their culpability during trial rather than show remorse." Nwosu, who was speaking in Abuja during the launch of the book: "Current Issues on Sentencing, Custodial Reforms and The Criminal Administration in Nigeria", written in honour of Justice Lawal Hassan Gummi, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, wondered why the sentencing and custodial option should be adopted and thereafter public funds are spent again to decongest the prisons.
Jirga and restorative justice
How we do justice in jirga,circle is very similar to that.see the article published on the subject link and for further reading,visit our web, Insight [...]
Our justice system requires us to punish wrongdoers, what if there were a better way?
from the entry by Mikhail Lyubansky on race-talk: For those of us living in the United States, “doing justice” is mostly synonymous with administering punishment. We may not literally follow the Biblical edict of “an eye for an eye”, but most of us still believe that “the punishment must fit the crime”. Indeed, many of us would be hard pressed to even come up with an alternative justice system. Yet alternatives abound in the form of restorative justice.
My aim is justice and a fair society with educated police, corrections, courses for judges (like Ohio),and a recognition that heinous ,brutal ,sadistic crime is [...]
violent offenders
the reason Herve Cleckley wrote "the Mask of Sanity" is that psychopaths are expert at looking like they have changed when they want to. In [...]

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