Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation

By John Braithwaite | Go to book overview

1
The Fall and Rise of Restorative Justice

THE HISTORICAL DECLINE OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

This book conceives of restorative justice as a major development in human thought grounded in traditions of justice from the ancient Arab, Greek, and Roman civilizations that accepted a restorative approach even to homicide (Van Ness 1986, pp. 64– 68); the restorative approach of the public assemblies (moots) of the Germanic peoples who swept across Europe after the fall of Rome (Berman 1983, pp. 53–56); Indian Hindus as ancient as the Vedic civilization (6000–2000 b.c.; Beck 1997, p. 77) for whom “he who atones is forgiven” (Weitekamp 1989); and ancient Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian traditions that one sees blended with Western influences today in North Asia (Haley 1996).

Contemporary Nobel Peace Prize–winning Buddhists Aug San Suu Kyi of Burma and the Dalai Lama are reteaching the West that the more evil the crime, the greater the opportunity for grace to inspire a transformative will to resist tyranny with compassion. They follow in the footsteps of Hindus like Ghandi and Christians like Tutu. In the words of the Dalai Lama: “Learning to forgive is much more useful than merely picking up a stone and throwing it at the object of one's anger, the more so when the provocation is extreme. For it is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and for others” (Eckel 1997, p. 135). Or as Saint Paul put it, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” The implication of this teaching for criminologists is that preventing crime is an impoverished way of conceiving of our mission. Crime is an opportunity to prevent greater evils, to confront crime with a grace that transforms human lives to paths of love and giving. The ancient Palestinian restorative justice institution of the Sulha, still practiced in Galilee today, is one of the richest survivals of the ideal of using the lesser evil of crime to build the greater good of a loving community (see Box 1.1).

If we take restorative justice seriously, it involves a very different way of thinking about traditional notions such as deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation, and crime prevention. It also means transformed foundations of criminal jurisprudence and of

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Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • 1: The Fall and Rise of Restorative Justice 3
  • 2: Responsive Regulation 29
  • 3: Does Restorative Justice Work? 45
  • 4: Theories That Might Explain Why Restorative Justice Works 73
  • 5: Worries About Restorative Justice 137
  • 6: World Peacemaking 169
  • 7: Sustainable Development 211
  • 8: Transforming the Legal System 239
  • References 269
  • Index 297
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