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Year 2018 x
Article

Restorative justice as empowerment: how to better serve the goals of punitive retribution

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Restorative justice, retributive punishment, empowerment of victims, restoring dignity and autonomy in survivors of crime
Authors Theo van Willigenburg
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice practices are applied only to the margins of criminal justice systems. These systems generally punish the wrongdoer in order to give him his ‘just desert’. For restorative justice to be more attractive, we need to understand why punitive retribution is such a powerful motive. If the scales of justice are out of balance because of suffering inflicted (to the offended), why would the infliction of more suffering (to the offender) bring redemption? It is argued that much of the sting of being harmed by an offender derives from the identity implications of the act. Punitive retribution may satisfy short-lasting vindictive desires, but its main symbolic function is to restore the victim’s self-image and dignity by humiliating the perpetrator. This is done in a notoriously indirect and ineffective way, though. It is argued that restorative justice can do much better, if it is understood in terms of empowering the offended. This involves procedures that restore the victim’s autonomy, prestige and self-confidence. Apart from bringing the offended back into the driver’s seat of the process, restorative justice empowers the survivors of crime by helping them face offenders, face themselves and face their community. Restorative justice is not only much more rewarding than punitive retribution, it also provides better ways of communicating personal and public disapproval of crime.


Theo van Willigenburg
Theo van Willigenburg is resident research fellow at VU University Amsterdam and director of the Kant Academy, Utrecht (The Netherlands). Contact author: vanwilligenburg@kantacademy.nl.
Article

Promoting Legislative Objectives Throughout Diverse Sub-National Jurisdictions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2018
Keywords devolution, informal jurisdiction, rule of law, disparate impacts, participatory problem-solving, intransitive law, legislative standardization
Authors Lorna Seitz
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article outlines an approach, derived from Ann and Robert Seidman’s Institutionalist Legislative Drafting Theory and Methodology (ILTAM), for drafting laws and developing implementing policies and programmes to realize legislative objectives and promote necessary behavioural change throughout a jurisdiction despite significant sub-jurisdictional socio-economic differences. ILTAM can serve as a powerful tool for catalysing the development of situationally appropriate programmes to initiate and sustain behavioural change in furtherance of legislative objectives. The article begins by discussing the movement towards legislative standardization, and its benefits and failings. It then introduces the concept of informal jurisdictions, and highlights modifications to ILTAM that improve the methodology’s efficacy in devising solutions that work in those jurisdictions. The article then describes the power of intransitive law as a mechanism for catalysing progress towards shared objectives in a manner that allows for localized approaches, promotes governmental responsiveness, brings innovation, and maximizes participatory governance. Lastly, it describes the importance that Ann and Robert Seidman placed on institutionalizing on-going monitoring, evaluation and learning processes; and describes how intransitive drafting techniques can focus implementation on motivating behavioural change while systematically identifying needed policy and law reforms in response to suboptimal legislative outcomes.


Lorna Seitz
The Legis Institute. Seitz earned her JD from Boston University (BU), where she served as Editor-in-Chief of Professor Seidman’s Legislative Clinics. After graduating, Seitz served as the Director of the BU/ICLAD Legislative Distance Drafting Program for several years, taught in the BU Legislative Clinics (and overseas) alongside Professor Seidman, and served as principal for the International Consortium for Law and Development (a non-profit co-founded by the Seidmans) from 2004-2014. Seitz co-founded The Legis Institute to realize the combined potential of ILTAM and 21st Century technology to overcome barriers to inclusive, responsive, evidence-based policy and law development and governance.
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