The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

Promoting restorative justice as de jure punishment: a vision for a different future

Keywords restorative justice, punishment
Authors Christian Gade
Author's information

Christian Gade
Christian B. N. Gade is an associate professor of human security and anthropology at Aarhus University and a mediator in the Danish victim-offender mediation programme (Konfliktråd). Corresponding author: gade@cas.au.dk. Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Pernille Reese, head of the Danish Victim-Offender Mediation Secretariat, for our many dialogues about restorative justice and punishment. Furthermore, I am grateful to Søren Rask Bjerre Christensen and Isabelle Sauer for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this article. Last but not least, I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback.
  • Abstract

      Restorative justice has frequently been presented as a new criminal justice paradigm, and as something that is radically different from punishment. I will argue that this ‘oppositioning’ is problematic for two reasons: first, because some cases of restorative justice constitute de facto punishment from the perspectives of some positions on what punishment is; second, because restorative justice could reasonably be more widely adopted as a new form of de jure punishment, which could potentially increase the use of restorative justice for the benefit of victims, offenders and society at large. In connection with the latter, I want to present some preliminary thoughts on how restorative justice could be incorporated into future criminal justice systems as de jure punishment. Furthermore, I will suggest that by insisting that restorative justice is radically different from punishment, restorative justice advocates may − contrary to their intentions − play into the hands of those who want to preserve the status quo rather than developing future criminal justice systems in the direction of restorative justice.

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