Restoration but also More Justice

CRIMINAL LAW CONVERSATIONS, Paul H. Robinson, Kimberly Ferzan, & Stephen P. Garvey, eds., 2009

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 09-06

4 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2009 Last revised: 10 Apr 2009

See all articles by Stephanos Bibas

Stephanos Bibas

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: February 1, 2009

Abstract

This short essay replies to Erik Luna's endorsement of restorative justice. He is right that the goal of healing victims, defendants, and their families is important but all too often neglected by substantive criminal law and procedure, which is far too state-centered and impersonal. The problem with restorative justice is that too often it seeks to sweep away punishment as barbaric and downplays the need for deterrence and incapacitation as well.

In short, restorative justice deserves more of a role in American criminal justice. Shorn of its political baggage and reflexive hostility to punishment, restorative justice has much to teach us. But to restore victims and criminals who commit serious crimes, the state must first punish before it and we can forgive. Cheap grace and promiscuous forgiveness demean the crime and the victim.

Keywords: Criminal sentences, restorative justice, punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, crime victims

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Bibas, Stephanos, Restoration but also More Justice (February 1, 2009). CRIMINAL LAW CONVERSATIONS, Paul H. Robinson, Kimberly Ferzan, & Stephen P. Garvey, eds., 2009; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 09-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1349325

Stephanos Bibas (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-746-2297 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/sbibas/

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