A Truly Good Work: Turning to Restorative Justice for Answers to the Welfare-to-Work Dilemma

35 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2011  

Marie A. Failinger

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2008

Abstract

U.S. welfare programs have traditionally come with strings attached: recipients must work for their benefits. I argue that there is a more practical and less morally repugnant way to marry work and welfare if proponents of work as well as their opponents would be willing to give up the unrealistic expectations they have placed on state-run public assistance programs, and define a clear and limited relationship between work and need for economically vulnerable people. Just as it has offered an alternative to both the pure retributivist and rehabilitation models in the area of criminal corrections, the principles and practices of the restorative justice movement offer a better chance to re-shape the relationship between recipient and the community in work programs in a realistic way. Restorative justice can bring together appropriately confined standards of social morality about work with realistic assessments of the complex lives of the vulnerable poor and more useful public interventions in the crises by which these lives are shaped.

Keywords: Welfare, poverty, work, restorative justice

Suggested Citation

Failinger, Marie A., A Truly Good Work: Turning to Restorative Justice for Answers to the Welfare-to-Work Dilemma (January 1, 2008). Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law Policy, Vol. 15, p. 209, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1929565

Marie A. Failinger (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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