How Restorative Justice Can Confront and Help Heal Contemporary Criminology

Dan Okada, California State University, Sacramento

In spite of the emerging popularity of restorative justice perspectives and programs--typically in the form of Victim-Offender Mediation based out of county probation departments--these efforts are often viewed with cynicism by students, practitioners, and academics. Devout proponents of restorative justice, that is, the "true believers" vehemently support its principles of reconciliation and redemption while those who are athesists, hat is, the "non-belieers" are baffled and do not and cannot support such a polemically opposite philosophy. Ths is the arena restorative justice confronts in contemporary criminology. Criminology has already capitulated and become criminal justice; the hope is that discourse which examines the contemporary human conditions outlined in a restorative/transformative conversation can influence critical thinking and thus effectively reintroduce the ideals of people as people, not of people as data.

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Updated 05/20/2006