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Forging Links and Renewing Ties: Applying the Principles of Restorative and Procedural Justice to Better Respond to Criminal Offenders with a Mental Disorder

77 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2011 Last revised: 27 Jan 2012

Thomas L. Hafemeister

Independent

Sharon G. Garner

Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office

Veronica E. Bath

United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps

Date Written: January 26, 2012

Abstract

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Hafemeister, Thomas L. and Garner, Sharon G. and Bath, Veronica E., Forging Links and Renewing Ties: Applying the Principles of Restorative and Procedural Justice to Better Respond to Criminal Offenders with a Mental Disorder (January 26, 2012). Buffalo Law Review, Vol. 60, p. 147, 2012; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2011-41. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1937261

Sharon G. Garner

Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office ( email )

Veronica E. Bath

United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps ( email )

United States

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