Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation

By John Braithwaite | Go to book overview

4
Theories That Might Explain Why Restorative
Justice Works

THE REVIEW OF EVIDENCE IN THE LAST CHAPTER CONCLUDED THAT THE FIRST OF the new generation of restorative justice programs of the 1990s may have had some effects in reducing reoffending and enhancing restoration in other ways. Some of these programs seemed to be somewhat effective, even though we look back on them in the new century as flawed first-generation efforts. We think we can and are doing better now as we look back on all the mistakes we learned from those earlier programs. Yet to do better in a significant way, the argument of this chapter is that we must commit to sustained research and development of restorative justice that tests theories of the conditions where it is productive and counterproductive.

This chapter shows first that a set of theories that increasingly seem to have strong relationships with one another—theories of reintegrative shaming, procedural justice, unacknowledged shame, defiance, and self-categorization—offer an explanation for why restorative justice processes might be effective in reducing crime and accomplishing other kinds of restoration. Then the chapter argues that restorative justice has the makings of a better theory of crime prevention than the situational crime prevention tradition, a better theory of rehabilitation than the welfare model provides, a better theory of how deterrence can reduce crime than the deterrence model, a better theory of incapacitation than the theory of selective incapacitation, a better approach to cost-effectiveness in crime prevention than the economic analysis of law provides, and a better theory of justice than the justice model and one with richer roots in democratic theory.

Some of these claims are sure to be proved untrue by the kind of R and D advocated here. Equally, where these theoretical claims turn out to be true, we will find that the potential of this truth has not been sufficiently built into the design of restorative justice programs.

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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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