CIVILIZING CRIMINAL JUSTICE Professor John Blad & Dr. David Cornwell
CENTRAL PREMISEthat: The ‘Traditional Retributive’ and ‘Restorative Justice’ paradigms of criminal justice are NOT irreconcilable
PRIMARY PURPOSE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICETo repair the social harm caused by offending, or to inflict retributive punishment on offenders?
Does RJ need to clarify its own principal aims? Is it an alternative to ‘traditional justice? Is it a ‘diversionary’ agenda for CJ reform? Should it be an integral element of effective sentencing structures? Is it potentially only an ‘add-on’ element of sentencing processes?
RJ ‘Fault-Lines’James Dignan (2002) Conceptualisation and definition of RJ? Identity and status of legitimate stakeholders? What is the ‘ultimate’ or ‘optimum’ RJ : ‘traditional’ justice relationship?
FAULT-LINE 1 The need to clarify whether restorative justice is a process for doing justice differently, or more a means of ‘managing’ criminal justice outcomes. RJ proponents appear to its critics to fall on either side of this fault-line.
FAULT-LINE 2 Does crime itself need re-defining to provide a more obvious distinction between criminal offences and other acts or misdemeanours that might better be dealt with as civil wrongs? Do all acts presently defined as ‘criminal’ necessarily require State intervention?
FAULT-LINE3 (Described by Dignan as ‘Realpolitikal’ issues): Should RJ be viewed as a ‘stand alone’ or replacement agenda for CJ reform, or As an alternative strategy for crime reduction where and when it can be implemented as a preferable option for dealing with offences?
CCJ OVERVIEW – THE THEMES Means towards the reduction of excessive custodial penal populations; Revision of CJ codes and court practices; Expansion of community sanctions and wider involvement of communities in RJ practices.
Theme 1 – Reducing Use of Custody Applying proportionality to sentencing. ‘Just deserts’ not ignored. Limiting indeterminacy. Bifurcation of custodial regimes. Bridging the custody: community gap.
Theme 2 – Revision of CJ Codes and Court Practices Criminal offences v. ‘civil wrongs’. Reducing resort to criminal court trials. Increasing powers and discretion of prosecutors. Presumption in favour of RJ resolutions wherever practicable’ Decreased use of custodial remand.
Theme 3 – Expanding Community Sanctions and Restorative Practices Expansion of community sanctions. Issues of ‘penal bite’ and credibility. Enhanced victim recognition and involvement. Reducing recidivism and increasing ‘life skills’. Wider application of restorative and reparative practices involving citizen participation.
Contributing Authors Judge FWM (Fred) McElrea – New Zealand Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC – UK Tapio Lappi-Seppälä – Finland Susan Easton and Christine Piper – UK Paul de Hert and Serge Gutwirth – Belgium Borbala Fellegi – Hungary Jacques Faget – France Thomas Trenczek - Germany
Contributing Authors - continued Bas van Stokkom – The Netherlands Lode Walgrave – Belgium Ann Skelton – Republic of South Africa Claire Spivakovsky – Australia Frederico Reggio – Italy Russ Immarigeon – USA Per Andersen - Norway
And the Editors Theme 1 – David J Cornwell Theme 2 – John R. Blad Theme 3 – Martin Wright
Thank you for listening to our presentation! We shall now very much welcome any questions you may wish to ask, or observations that you may like to make on the project we have described, and the concept upon which it has been designed.