Do Wrongdoers Have a Right to Make Amends?

Social Theory and Practice 29 (2):325-41 (2003)
Do people deserve a chance to right the wrongs they have committed? Would denying an offender the opportunity to make amends amount to an injustice? There are compelling reasons to grant such a right. However, there are also significant objections. First, a right to make amends potentially undermines the state's right to punish criminal wrongdoers. Secondly, the alleged right threatens to put undue pressure on victims to forgive their abusers. In this essay I argue that these objections can be met and that wrongdoers do indeed have a right to make amends.
Keywords criminal justice  law  reparation
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