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Restorative Justice in the 21st Century

Restorative justice differs most clearly from

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Unformatted text preview: o victims and victimized communities. Restorative justice differs most clearly from retributive justice (see Table I) in its view of crime as more than simply lawbreaking -- or a violation of government authority. Rather, what is most significant about criminal behavior is the harm to victims, communities and offenders that is its result. The most important function of justice is to ensure that this harm is repaired.5 The interest in restorative justice has been fueled by the crime victims' movement, the positive experience with reparative sanctions for juvenile offenders, the rise of informal neighborhood justice and dispute resolution processes, and new thinking on equity and human relationships. Support for restorative justice has also benefited from increasing skepticism about the supposed preventive and deterrent effects of the current system and a general sense of frustration with the retributive paradigm and its detachment from the real problems of victims, offenders and communities (see sidebar). Restorative justice offers a different “lens” for viewing the problem of crime and provides a new outlook on the appropriate public response to the harm...
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