Is Restorative Justice Compatible with Sentencing Uniformity?

23 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2005 Last revised: 1 May 2015


Restorative justice (RJ) procedures offer an alternative to conventional criminal justice procedures. RJ emphasizes dialogue between criminal offenders and their victims, consensual conflict resolution, and the repairing of harm. RJ skeptics, however, frequently argue that RJ procedures undermine uniformity in sentencing. This Article considers the merits of these claims, concluding that RJ is compatible with some versions of uniformity, but not with others. While uniformity, as a sentencing ideal, has many supporters, uniformity means quite different things to different people. In particular, the Article contrasts "static" and "dynamic" "ersions of uniformity. The static approaches rely on sentencing factors that are external and antecedent to the processes of the criminal justice system. The dynamic approaches, by contrast, permit consideration of the interactions between offenders, victims, and criminal justice professionals within the system. The Article demonstrates that the dynamic paradigms are more compatible with RJ than the static. The Article also suggests some reasons to view the static paradigms (which pose relatively greater difficulties for RJ) with skepticism.

Keywords: sentencing, restorative justice, criminal law

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

O'Hear, Michael M., Is Restorative Justice Compatible with Sentencing Uniformity?. Marquette Law Review, Vol. 89, No. 2, 2005, Marquette Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-04, Available at SSRN:

Michael M. O'Hear (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

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Milwaukee, WI 53201
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414-288-3587 (Phone)
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