The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

Restorative justice, anger, and the transformative energy of forgiveness

Keywords Restorative justice, ritual, anger, apology, forgiveness
Authors Meredith Rossner
Author's information

359194 Meredith Rossner
Meredith Rossner will from 2020 be a Professor of Criminology, Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. In 2019 she was an Associate Professor of Criminology at the London School of Economics and a visitor at the Center for Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University.
  • Abstract

      Restorative justice has long been positioned as a justice mechanism that prioritises emotion and its expression. It is also unique in its ritual elements, such as the ritualized expression of anger and the symbolic exchange of apology and forgiveness. This paper draws on insights from research and practice in restorative justice and recent developments in criminology/legal theory and the philosophy of justice to suggest some ways that the broader criminal justice landscape can incorporate elements of successful restorative justice rituals into its practice. I argue that the unique elements of restorative justice- its ability to harness anger into a deliberative ritual for victims and offenders, its focus on symbolic reparations, and its ability to engender a form of forward-looking forgiveness that promotes civility- can provide a framework for rethinking how criminal justice institutions operate.

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