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June 17, 2020

"Restorative Justice From Prosecutors' Perspective"

The title of this post is the title of this new article now available via SSRN and authored by Lara Bazelon and Bruce Green. Here is its abstract:

Restorative justice processes have been promoted as an alternative to criminal adjudication for many years outside the United States and, in recent years, in the United States as well.  In the United States, restorative justice processes are used in some jurisdictions in cases involving juvenile offenders or low-level, nonviolent offenses by adults, but they have rarely been used in cases of adult felony offenders charged with serious violent crimes.  Whether restorative justice processes will be used more broadly depends largely on whether prosecutors become receptive to their use.

A handful of newly elected “progressive prosecutors” have expressed interest in applying restorative justice processes in these and other kinds of felony cases involving adult defendants.  But conventional prosecutors generally remain uninterested in or hostile to restorative justice, even though most accept problem-solving courts and other alternatives to prosecution and incarceration.  This Article explores why mainstream U.S. prosecutors are disposed against restorative justice and suggest how their concerns might best be addressed by restorative justice proponents.

June 17, 2020 at 06:19 PM | Permalink


I have seen restorative justice practice played out in academic and k12 settings. My view is that it is cherry picking. Restorative justice works if and only if the offender wants it to work. In other words, if the offender is motivated to be reintegrated into the community that will happen. Restorative justice doesn't have an answer for those who have no motivation to seek amends. So restorative takes credit for something that would happen anyway, tosses the detritus back to the standard justice system, and then crows about how successful and wonderful and happy faeries everything progressive is.

It is the same old ploy. It works so long as you take what doesn't work and declare it external to the model.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 19, 2020 8:15:36 PM

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