Posted by Lewis on April 04, 2003

In Reply to: Retributive Justice posted by Bruce Kahl on April 01, 2003

: : Anybody heard of retributive justice? Does it mean that it is only just/fair to give people their deserved punishment? Please help! Thanks.

: Retributive Justice
: Misbehavior is defined as an act against authorities.
: Misconduct is a violation of a law; an abstract system of rules
: The offender is accountable to the authorities for the misbehavior.
: As a result, the authority figures and the offender are in an adversarial relationship
: Accountability is equated with suffering.
: If an offender is made to suffer enough (i.e. expulsion or suspension) they have then been accountable
: Victims are peripheral to the process of responding to and resolving the misbehavior.

: Offenders are defined only by their deficits(the misbehavior) and the victim is defined only by material and psychological losses.

: Misbehavior is entirely the result of individual choice with individual responsibility.
: --

: Restorative Justice

: Misbehavior is defined as an act against victims and the community. Misconduct is an injury which violates people and community trust

: The offender is accountable to the victim and the community. Authorities help insure that the offender is held accountable to the victim and community, and the process is fair and equitable.

: Accountability is defined as taking responsibility for behaviors and repairing the harm resulting from those behaviors. The outcomes of the system are measured by how much reparation was achieved..

: Victims and community are directly involved and play a key role in response to misbehavior.

: Offenders are defined by their capacity to take responsibility for their actions and change behavior. Victims are defined by losses and capacity to participate in the process of recovering losses and healing

: Misbehavior has both individual and social dimensions. Misbehavior is defined by individual choice in a context of conditions which lead to criminal behavior.

"Retributive justice" is where the system is only concerned with revenge upon the offender and not with either reparation to the victim or rehabilitation of the offender. It is usually a hallmark of vulnerable societies where further offences might damage the available resources and where the society sees itself as being at risk. There are situations in which retributive justice is particularly likely, but I would probably bore you (or me) trying to list the circumstances that increase the likelihood of different systems.

Since Victorian penal reform, rehabilitation has been the ideal of the system, but with stretched resources, containment is more expected at present in the UK. (approx 73k people)

Future plans are for more reparation, but in the short term, "restorative justice" takes resources and training and so is more often at a pilot project stage in the UK. There are probably internet resouces about these at the Youth Justice Bureaux websites.