WDW340 March 28 2012.docx

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19 Apr 2012
School
Course
Lecture 10 - March 28
March-28-12
14:14 PM
Argument for Abolition of Prisons, Argument for Development of Restorative Justice
-Idea: Aboriginals have traditional ways of doing justice which is consistent with their culture
-claim is that aboriginal justice is holistic; brings in all elements in the offence and its resolution;
Aboriginal sentencing/disposition should take full account of situation and needs of the offender, and
incorporate an examination of psychological, physical, spiritual etc. of offender, and view of offence as
disruption
-offender has multiple needs that resulted in the offence that need to be fixed
-Aboriginal model of justice arises out of these concepts
-crucial idea is that offender needs to accept being blamed/shamed in order to move forward; and as
part of that process, the aboriginal offender must agree to and undertake some developmental and
educational processes special to the aboriginal culture which are special to the culture, but also which
will restore the culture and spirituality of offender and community
-third element is restitution to be made to victims and to community
-idea of a sentencing circle; agreement by the offender that he/she has done something shameful and
have accepted responsibility, that he/she is going to progressively do something about it, occurs within a
situation in which offender, victim and other members of community are in a process of dialogue and
negotiation
-sentencing circle is the fix for the problem; not just where the process to restore the offender is
initiated
-Durkheim and restoring moral order through sentencing circle?
-liberal pluralist; where ideas came from recently, why these ideas emerged as important
-feminists; rights of aboriginal women in corrections; gender and race disadvantage in prisons etc.
Problem with these discussions
-all of the critical sociological lenses are Western intellectual products; may be hostile to own heritage
i.e. Foucault, but fundamentally western ways of looking at things
-Foucault hostile to modernity; distinctly western philosophy; aboriginals often raise question of
whether its appropriate to analyze what they are doing through western lenses
Alternatives to Conventional Punishment - Restoration and Abolishinism
-Abolishinists; idea that we should not sentence people to prison
-will ought not use the prison for punishment
-idea that prisons are always inhumane and counterproductive
-abolishinists have not really been very influential in US and UK; prisoner's rights advocates are
abolishinists, but do not push for it all the time
-most important impact of abolishinist thinking arises because some countries in Europe have important
organizations where people listen positively to abolishinist message; population itself is more suspicious
of imprisonment, whereas US and Canada are more prison-focused
-popular in the concept of harm reduction; principle we should have in terms of our policies
-selective abolition; not close down prisons, but have certain classes of imprisonment closed down
-argument that women do not need to be imprisoned; tiny percentage of women offenders are actually
dangerous
-public is less fearful of violent women, despite mythic image of woman offender as extra dangerous
Durkheim- punishment as giving people idea that moral order is strong; not subjecting women to
severest punishment of imprisonment makes inequality
Restoration - important trend
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