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Retributive Justice

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University of Waterloo
Peace and Conflict Studies
PACS 202
Betty Pries

Retributive Justice From Crime to Punishment: 1. Crime 2. Charge 3. Plea 4. Trial 5. Conviction 6. Sentencing a. Incarceration, restitution order, community service  Restorative justice can happen at any stage  Sentencing circles take place after sentencing has occurred (aboriginal community) Crime  What is crime? o Things that harm others o Breaking the law o What you don’t want people to do to you  What types of needs do you believe crime creates? o For the victim? o For the victim’s family o For the offender? o Offender’s family o Larger community?  As people experience the court system, movement comes up for modification to create a secondary impact of sentencing Justice Needs: harm create needs  There’s a sense of isolation;; victims look for safety, a security that it won’t happen again o Victims very frequently moves to a place of: if anything, this person will not do it again  that kind of good came out of it o Often want answers; why did it happen?  Why is it important for the offender to say the words of exactly what he did? o It’s important that the offender recognizes what he did o Power from saying it to start the healing process History of Criminal Justice Philosophy Principles Retribution  13 century  Wrong is righted by inflicting similar harm  Judeo-Christian  Idea of blood atonement  Offender (morally) deserves  Code of h’ammurabi this (just desserts)  Payment is usually compensation in money Utilitarian  Rational choice theory  punishment must maximize th  18 century social good  criminal law reforms  least amount that will deter (specific and general) Retributive Justice Principles of Criminal Justice Philosophy Principles Rehabilitation  behavioural sciences  crime is an “illness” that needs th  19 century to be treated  therefore, offenders need to be reformed restitution  neo-classical economics  some shift towards victims  political libertarianism (mostly towards $ cost of  mid to late 20 century crime)  offender should pay debt to society and victim Summary of Criminal Justice principles  Retributive  Utilitarian  Rehabilitative  Provides restitution (or compensation) A Fifth Principle  A re-orientation of justice… o Reaction to CJS  1974 Elmira, Ontario Case  2 fellows who were drunk and destroyed cars and houses with bats o they were caught and judge was tired of sending them to detention centers o parole officer said: why not get kids to each house and apologize to them  How to hold offenders accountable?  Process of RJ is to give power to victims and give them a voice  A way of thinking about justice  Moving from justice as consequence (ie. Punishment) towards justice as healing (ie. Meeting needs) Restorative Justice Develops  From Elmira to… o Learning from collective wisdom  Aboriginal  Other continents Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice Together  RJ emerged as a critique of the criminal justice system o Still has a flavor of criminal justice  Much of the RJ literature still speaks from this lens  Emerging literature focuses on the mutuality between criminal justice and restorative justice, as RJ as the fifth principle… Decisions and power in criminal Justice  Judge  Crown attorney  Defence lawyer  State  Offender  victim we now give victims more power; victim statements, etc. Critique of criminal justice system  Most are not solely interested in retribution  Mainstream process historically disempowered primary stakeholders Retributive Justice  Restorative justice allows for “retribution” where appropriate  Restorative justice empowers key stakeholders in a way that is right for them. Reaction of Restorative Justice  To a system oriented towards punishment… o Rather than direct accountability to people harmed.  To a system with centralized power & Decision-making…… o Rather than power and decision being in the hands of those most directly affected or who have a stake in the outcome. Restorative Justice  Views crime as more than a law broken, but something that violates/hurts people and relationships.  The goal
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