Restorative Justice and Criminology: Must the Accused Always Apologize and Be Remorseful?

Rudolph Alexander, Jr., The Ohio State University

Restorative Justice has become a very popular philosophy in criminal justice. Chief among its principles are that victims are center-focused, crime is harmful to the victim and the community, restitutions must be made by the offenders, apologies and remorse must be expressed and shown by the offenders and the offenders must accept responsibilities for their conduct, and reconciliation among the offenders, victims, and community. While these principles are laudable and exemplary, they presuppose that laws are just and the offenders treated fairly in arriving at their guilt or innocence -- important principles that have been lost in society's zeal to be tough on crime and criminals. More importantly, what are the implications for restorative justice when the principals in the legal system--judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys are racist and corrupt in producing convictions? Must the unfairly convicted still apologize and be remorseful. This paper answers these questions.

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Updated 05/20/2006