In my view restoration is the goal and voluntary

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together (as in victim support). In my view, restoration is the goal, and voluntary processes are means only, though crucial ones. Process-based definitions confuse the means with the goal and limit the possible means to achieve (partial) restoration. Deliberative processes appear to hold the highest potentials for achieving restoration, but if voluntary agreements cannot be accomplished, coercive obligations in pursuit of (partial) reparation must be encompassed in the restorative justice model. This section comments on three basic elements in the definition I offered: harm (Sec. IIA), restoration (Sec. IIB), and doing justice (Sec. IIC). It examines the socioethical foundations of restorative justice (Sec. IID) and draws conclusions on its practical feasibility (Sec. IIE). A. Harm A focus on repairing harm and not on what should be done to the offender is the key to understanding restorative justice and is what distinguishes it from punitive and rehabilitative justice approaches. That is why it is presented as another paradigm (Zehr 1990; Bazemore and Walgrave 1999; McCold 2000). It offers a distinctive "lens," in Zehr's *553 term, for defining the problem caused by crime and for solving it. Crime is defined by the harm it causes and not by its transgression of a legal order. The primary function of responses to it should be neither to punish nor to rehabilitate the offender but to set the conditions for repairing as much as possible the harm caused. Restorative justice thus can go a long way without an offender involved. If the offender is not caught, while the harm caused is assessed, (partial) justice can be done by trying to repair or compensate the victim and by restoring public assurance that the crime is not acceptable. However, as we shall see, it remains important to involve the offender in formulating the aftermath of the offense. 1. Limits to the Harm Considered. Harm includes the material damage, psychological and relational suffering by the victim, social unrest and community indignation, uncertainty about legal order and about authorities' capacity to assure public safety, and the social damage the offender causes to himself. [FN2] The only limitation is that the harm considered by the restorative process must be that caused by the particular offense. This positions restorative justice as a reactive option, "a way of responding to crimes which have been already committed" (Johnstone 2002, p. 19). Not all restorative justice adherents would accept this limitation. Some writers believe that restorative processes should address underlying causes of offending (Masters and Roberts 2000). Some conditions, like social exclusion or psychological problems of the offender, are not caused by the offense but may be among its causes. In my view, including offenders' broader needs in the restorative justice reaction is a dangerous option. It blurs the contrast with the rehabilitative approach and risks shifting from a harm-focused to an offender-focused program (Braithwaite 1999). It would also degrade the victim into being a tool in service of the offender's rehabilitation and not recognize the victim as a party on his own. Problems and needs of the offender are
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  • Summer '17
  • Candace Simons
  • Law, John Braithwaite

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Christopher Reinemann
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