Restorative vs. Retributive justice side by side comparison

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Restorative and Retributive Justice Side by Side Comparison

(Source: "Justice Paradigm Shift" by Howard Zehr in Victim Offender Conferencing in Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System)


RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE

Crime defined by violation of rules
____________________________
State as victim.
_____________________________
State and offender primary parties.
____________________________
Interpersonal dimensions irrelevant.
____________________________
Offense defined in legal terms.
____________________________
Wrongs create guilt.
_____________________________
Guilt is absolute, either/or.
_____________________________
Guilt is indelible.
_____________________________
Debt is abstract.
_____________________________
Debt paid by taking punishment.
_____________________________
Accountability = taking ones medicine.
_____________________________
Blame fixing central.
_____________________________
Focus on past.
_____________________________
Needs secondary.
_____________________________
Battle, adversarial model normative.
_____________________________
Imposition of pain normative.
_____________________________
One social injury added to another.
_____________________________
Harm done balanced by inflicting harm
_____________________________
Victimsneeds ignored.
_____________________________
Restitution rare.
_____________________________
Sense of balance through retribution.
_____________________________
State monopoly on response
_____________________________
Encourages offender irresponsibility.
_____________________________
Offender denounced.
_____________________________
Offender stigmatized
_____________________________
Justice tested by intent and process.
_____________________________
Process alienates.
_____________________________
Proxy professionals are the key actors.
_____________________________
Win-lose outcomes assumed.
_____________________________
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Crime defined by harm to people.
____________________________
People and relationships as victims.
_____________________________
Victim and offender are primary parties.
_____________________________
Interpersonal dimensions central.
_____________________________
Offense understood in full context
_____________________________
Wrongs create liabilities and obligations.
_____________________________
There are degrees of responsibility.
_____________________________
Guilt removable thru repentance and reparation.
_____________________________
Debt is concrete.
_____________________________
Debt paid by making right.
_____________________________
Accountability = taking responsibility.
_____________________________
Problem solving central.
_____________________________
Focus on future.
_____________________________
Needs primary.
_____________________________
Dialogue normative.
_____________________________
Restoration/reparation normative.
_____________________________
Emphasis on repair of social injuries.
_____________________________
Harm done balanced by making right.
_____________________________
Victimsneeds central.
_____________________________
Restitution normal.
_____________________________
Sense of balance through restitution.
_____________________________
Victim, offender, community roles recognized.
_____________________________
Responsible behavior encouraged.
_____________________________
Harmful act denounced.
_____________________________
Reintegration offered to offender.
_____________________________
Justice tested by its outcome.
_____________________________
Process aims at reconciliation.
_____________________________
Victim and offender central
_____________________________
Win-win outcome encouraged.
_____________________________

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4 Comments:

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Jose Gonzales said...

Interesting. I would say rather than anything being called "justice" that doesn't recognize that sins or crimes or whatever you want to call them differ by the amount of harm they cause to people is not justice at all. The idea that all sins are equal is tyranny.

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger Red Hawk said...

Hey, Derek! I'm new to your blog and I'm really enjoying your insights! I have a question though. If God's current and future judgments are restorative, why are we compelled by scripture to warn people of the coming judgement? Jesus states on the day of resurrection those who have done evil will rise to damnation (John 5:29). How do you reconcile judgement day with restorative justice?

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Red Hawk said...

Hey, Derek! I'm new to your blog and I'm really enjoying your insights! I have a question though. If God's current and future judgments are restorative, why are we compelled by scripture to warn people of the coming judgement? Jesus states on the day of resurrection those who have done evil will rise to damnation (John 5:29). How do you reconcile judgement day with restorative justice?

 
At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Derek said...

RH,
A good place to start I think would be in recognizing that the concept of "justice" and "judgement" are not synonyms in the NT as they can be in our culture. You for example ask "If God's current and future judgments are restorative..." but note I never said that judgement is restorative. Judgement is destructive. That is why there are warning against it, and instead the focus of the NT is on God's restorative justice in the work of Christ which has the very purpose of saving us from judgement. The NT views judgement as a problem, and grace as the way out of it.

That's just scratching the surface of course. This is something I write about a lot, so if you dig around a bit, I'm sure you will find more to chew on. In a nutshell however I'd say that the way of judgement is the way of death, and the NT is a protest against that way which proposes the alternative way of grace and enemy love instead, which God in Christ reveals to us, and which we are to follow. The difficulty is that the OT often promotes the toxic way of judgement/death/violence. The NT needs to be understood as a protest against that. For more on this, check out my most recent blog series on the Bible and violence.

 

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