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Distinguishing Restorative Justice

An approach used by many writers has been to contrast restorative justice from what is presented as conventional criminal justice (referred to as retribution, traditional criminal justice, or in other ways).

Promoting previously unthinkable ways
from the paper by Derek Wilson: Building a more restorative culture in society is to: build a new practice that works critically and reflectively within existing traditions and institutions; enable people to transgress traditional boundaries and meet; support existing organisations re-envision their role in the light of a new and agreed political dispensation; and set free initiatives that are transformative because of their inclusive structures or the focus of their work. ....An initial question before reading this is “what are we restoring to?”
Restoration is a metaphor
from Howard Zehr's entry on Restorative Justice Blog: In an earlier blog entry I discussed the importance of metaphor and promised to say more about how this applies to justice. Here, finally, are more thoughts on metaphors and justice. ....Our justice language is full of metaphors. Some, such as the “war on crime” or the adversarial system as a boxing match, are easy to identify. But others are much more subtle and unconscious. For example, we often treat justice as a commodity: justice is spoken of as “received” or “given.”
Restorative justice and society
The most important core value of Gevangenenzorg Nederland is the concept of merciful justice. This is an exciting concept that, at first, could seem like a contradiction in terms. It is not justice as contained in criminal law. Our judicial system is based on the principles of legitimacy and proportionality. This means that the punisher is working in accordance with the law and that the punishment is proportional to the offence or the crime. This is justice whereby the law may take its course but no restoration or fresh prospects are put forward. On the other hand it is not the intention that merciful justice should be thought to be a denial of the existence of guilt and harm. Not at all! If that were to happen justice would lose all meaning. Without guilt there is no injustice and without harm no need for restoration.
Restorative justice and society
by Hans Barendrecht, Martine Cammeraat and Esther Klaassen of Gevangenenzorg Nederland, the Prison Fellowship affiliate in the Netherlands. The most important core value of Gevangenenzorg Nederland is the concept of merciful justice. This is an exciting concept that, at first, could seem like a contradiction in terms. It is not justice as contained in criminal law. Our judicial system is based on the principles of legitimacy and proportionality. This means that the punisher is working in accordance with the law and that the punishment is proportional to the offence or the crime. This is justice whereby the law may take its course but no restoration or fresh prospects are put forward. On the other hand it is not the intention that merciful justice should be thought to be a denial of the existence of guilt and harm. Not at all! If that were to happen justice would lose all meaning. Without guilt there is no injustice and without harm no need for restoration.
Restorative justice and society
by Hans Barendrecht, Martine Cammeraat and Esther Klaassen of Gevangenenzorg Nederland, the Prison Fellowship affiliate in the Netherlands. The most important core value of Gevangenenzorg Nederland is the concept of merciful justice. This is an exciting concept that, at first, could seem like a contradiction in terms. It is not justice as contained in criminal law. Our judicial system is based on the principles of legitimacy and proportionality. This means that the punisher is working in accordance with the law and that the punishment is proportional to the offence or the crime. This is justice whereby the law may take its course but no restoration or fresh prospects are put forward. On the other hand it is not the intention that merciful justice should be thought to be a denial of the existence of guilt and harm. Not at all! If that were to happen justice would lose all meaning. Without guilt there is no injustice and without harm no need for restoration.
Restorative justice and transformative justice: Definitions and debates
from the entry by Candace Smith in Sociology Lens: When it comes to defining RJ, it seems as if the only consensus is that there is no consistent definition. In an attempt to broadly define the concept, Braithwaite writes that “restorative justice is a process where all the stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm.” That is, since crime hurts, it should also have a chance to heal.
Restorative justice considers the merits of cases not just rules…
from Lorenn Walker's entry on Restorative Justice and Other Public Health Approaches for Healing: The disturbing case of Albert Holland whose lawyer failed to adequately represent him points out a growing problem with our traditional courts: the focus on the law and rules vs. the facts and merits of particular cases in making rulings. Most American legal cases are being decided on procedure and law, “the rules,” and not on equity or the merits of cases. See Michael J. Sandel’s Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy. The merits are about people and the particular facts about their unique experience in every conflict. Our courts should be places where people can go to find fairness and justice. Court should be a place where people know they can go to have the facts of their cases heard and considered by other people, judges, who care.
Restorative justice, globalisation and the logic of empire
from the artcle by Chris Cunneen in Borders and Transnational Crime: At the beginning of this century, restorative justice had come to receive a relatively high degree of acceptance in many jurisdictions. By 2002 it found its way onto the United Nations (UN) agenda, when the Economic and Social Council adopted the Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programs in Criminal Matters. Restorative justice increasingly appeared to be the answer to a range of crime control problems, ranging from local issues like juvenile offending to international crimes and human rights abuses in transitional societies. For problems as diverse as child misbehaviour at school and ethnic cleansing and genocide, restorative justice was seen to offer a viable strategy both for satisfying victim needs and for reintegrating offenders. From seemingly humble beginnings as a localized justice strategy to taking a place on the UN’s agenda, restorative justice appeared as an alternative to retributive justice.
Restorative justice, mediation and ADR
from Howard Zehr's article on Restorative Justice Blog: ....There are some significant overlaps in theory and practice between RJ and ADR/mediation: mediation, for example, does require some of the same skills as restorative practices, and some of the underlying assumptions or theories are similar. Moreover, restorative practices such as circle processes can be used in many of the same kinds of situations in which one would use ADR approaches. In a broad perspective, encounter approaches within RJ can be seen as conflict-resolving, problem-solving approaches to harm. But there are also some significant differences, especially when applied to the kind of cases that are dealt with in the criminal justice realm.... In what follows I will outline what I see to be some of the differences between RJ and ADR/mediation. I am aware, however, that in doing so I am using broad caricatures and depending on the specific approaches, these differences may not in reality be so clear.
Restorative justice: Sketching a new legal discourse
from the article by Frank D. Hill for the Institute for Law and the Humanities: [T]he aim of this paper is not merely an exploration of the practice of restorative justice, but rather an examination of the radical re-visioning of criminal justice specifically and legal discourse generally which restorative justice gestures toward. Restorative justice imagines, and seeks to bring about, a system of justice which is responsive to the vicissitudes and dynamism that characterize individual experiences of crime. In order to do this, it re-imagines what the priorities of a system of criminal justice should be by enacting an inversion of the priorities of traditional legal discourse.
Restorative justice: Transforming corrections
from Daniel Patrick Dowen's article on Corrections.com: Restorative Justice is a different framework for reducing recidivism and providing public safety. It is not a program. It is a collection of concepts put into action to administer justice as a process that involves the victim, the offender and the community. It does not seek to undermine or mitigate the punitive characteristics of incarceration. Taking responsibility is fundamental and therefore more difficult for the offender. Restorative Justice Principles facilitates changing the offenders’ thinking and raising their level of moral reasoning. It attempts to teach offenders empathy and compassion for human suffering. Both qualities many offenders lack through inadequate childhood socialization, neglect or abuse.
Restorative justice?
from the post by Virago on KiwiBiker forum: This makes for some interesting reading: http://aranakenny.blogspot.co.nz/ It's worthwhile clicking through some of the links to get all the details, but in a nutshell: A Victoria University employee, doing caretaking and security work, steals a student's cellphone while working. Seven months later, the victim tracks the phone down using smart-phone technology, and hands the evidence to the police. The culprit is arrested and charged, and he admits the theft.
Restorative terminology: A modest proposal
by Dan Van Ness Howard Zehr suggests that at the core of restorative justice are the values of respect, responsibility and relationship. Respect for others, genuine responsibility that acknowledges the true extent to which my actions affect others, and a recognition that the universe is relational and not merely material, all are reflected in what we call restorative justice. But should we apply that term to all attempts to follow those values?For example, is civility restorative justice? I just received an email message from a group called Civilination whose mission "is to foster an online culture where every person can freely participate in a democratic, open, rational and truth-based exchange of ideas and information, without fear or threat of being the target of unwarranted abuse, harassment, or lies." In other words, they want online culture to reflect respect, responsibility and relationships. They believe their work is connected to restorative justice and wanted us to inform our readers of their important work (which we've now done!).
Review: Crime, Punishment, and Restorative Justice: From the Margins to the Mainstream.
by Eric Assur This is a unique and thought-provoking book from cover to cover. It is not a review of the brief history of restorative justice (RJ). Rather, it is a projection of just where RJ can take the discipline of criminal justice administration and practice. The author, not your usual academic, dissuades the reader from even using the word paradigm in discussing his ideas. He proposes and supports an integration of contemporary criminal justice approaches with restorative justice elements.
Review: The Collapse of American Criminal Justice
reviewed by Michael Corbin on Crime and Punishment: “The rule of law has vanished in America’s criminal justice system.” That is how Harvard University Press begins its description of last year’s The Collapse of American Criminal Justice--Harvard professor William Stuntz’s magisterial, synoptic look at our country’s system of punishment.
Richards, Kelly M. 'Rewriting history' : towards a genealogy of 'restorative justice.'
This thesis considers how ‘restorative justice’ has emerged as a legitimate response to crime. It presents the beginnings of a genealogical analysis of ‘restorative justice’ as it applies to criminal justice contexts. It comprises a ‘backwards-looking’ component, in which accepted historical accounts of ‘restorative justice’ are problematised, and a ‘forwards-looking’ component, in which a partial history of discourse of ‘restorative justice’ is presented. I conclude that these silenced discourses might be read as an incomplete and partial history of discourse of ‘restorative justice’. That is, ‘restorative justice’ ‘makes sense’ as an approach to criminal justice partly because of the credence of these discourses, upon which it relies, to some extent, for discursive legitimacy. These diverse and divergent discourses cast the ‘restorative justice’ project not as the unified and stable ‘movement’ as which it is usually portrayed, but as a fragmented and shifting phenomenon, comprised of a loose and heterogeneous assemblage of practices with variegated historical antecedents. Additionally, I conclude that some concerns raised by various scholars in the field – particularly in relation to the potential of ‘restorative practices’ to impact negatively on already marginalised and disadvantaged populations – are validated by this genealogy. (author's abstract)
Robinson, Paul H. The Virtues of Restorative Processes, the Vices of "Restorative Justice"
In this article, Paul Robinson distinguishes restorative processes from restorative justice. To him, restorative processes refer to such practices as victim-offender mediation, sentencing circles, and family group conferences – to name but a few of the most common such processes. Restorative justice, however, goes beyond those types of processes to pursue a much more ambitious agenda. Robinson characterizes it as an anti-justice agenda, and he remarks that frontline practitioners of restorative processes do not necessarily share a restorative justice agenda. He argues in this paper that restorative processes can and should be used more widely in ways consistent with doing justice, and that proponents of restorative justice should publicly disavow the anti-justice agenda of the restorative justice movement.
Seminar Report: Restorative Justice -- Restorative Practices: Are They the Same?
Shriver, Donald W., Jr.. Repairing the Past: Polarities of Restorative Justice
A description and analysis of some of the restorative justice methods America uses to process and recompense past national and cultural tragedies, such as the events of September 11 and the long history of African-American slavery.
Social work and restorative justice
from Howard Zehr's entry on Restorative Justice Blog Social Work and Restorative Justice: Skills for Dialogue, Peacemaking and Reconciliation, edited by Elizabeth Beck, Nancy P. Kropf and Pamela Blume-Leonard (Oxford University Press, 2011), is an important collection of essays on this subject. It will be of interest to both social work and restorative justice practitioners. The following is the Afterward that Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz and I were invited to contribute: The field that has come to be known as restorative justice was born in experiment and practice rather than theory; the term “restorative justice” and the conceptual framework came later. Although it did not directly emerge from the field of social work, restorative justice was born in a context and era much influenced by social work. It is appropriate, then, that the fields of restorative justice and social work are again converging, as the authors in this volume so convincingly argue....

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