Forging Links and Renewing Ties: Applying the Principles of Restorative and Procedural Justice to Better Respond to Criminal Offenders with a Mental Disorder
Thomas L. Hafemeister
Sharon G. Garner
Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office
Veronica E. Bath
United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps
January 26, 2012
Buffalo Law Review, Vol. 60, p. 147, 2012
Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2011-41
For almost as long as there has been a criminal justice system, society has struggled with how to respond to offenders with a mental disorder whose criminal behavior - largely through no fault of their own - has been shaped and driven by their mental disorder. Virtually everyone who works with this population, including criminal justice officials, believes that society’s current response is woefully inadequate. As prisons and jails have become the de facto mental health system, a costly and inappropriate approach, this concern has grown. Governmental entities, driven by fiscal crises, humanitarian concerns, and a recent Supreme Court ruling condemning the status quo, are in desperate need of alternative means to respond to this population. At the same time, there has been a general lack of thematic principles to guide the development of possible alternatives. The principles of restorative and procedural justice, however, can furnish valuable lenses for constructing such alternatives. Drawing on these principles and associated research, this Article proposes an approach providing a better response for all of the parties affected by these crimes, including the victims of these crimes as well as the offenders themselves.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 77
Keywords: criminal law & procedure, courts, dispute resolution, law & society, offenders with a mental disorder, victim's rights, psychology & psychiatry, mental health law, restorative justice, procedural justice
JEL Classification: H1, H7, I00, I1, I10, I18, J78 ,J71, K14, K32, K41, K42
Date posted: October 3, 2011 ; Last revised: January 27, 2012
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