Improving our Practice of Sentencing

Utilitas 9 (01):99- (1997)
Restorative justice should have greater weight as a criterion in criminal justice sentencing practice. It permits a realistic recognition of the kinds of harm and damage caused by offences, and encourages individualized non-custodial sentencing options as ways of addressing these harms. Non-custodial sentences have proven more effective than incarceration in securing social reconciliation and preventing recidivism, and they avoid the serious social and personal costs of imprisonment. This paper argues in support of restorative justice as a guiding idea in sentencing. As part of this defence, it considers whether the use of the idea of restorative justice will conflate criminal law with civil law or displace the authority of the criminal courts, and whether the sentences it recommends are best thought of as punishments or alternatives to punishment
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