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Finding common ground: restorative justice and its theoretical construction(s)

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Restorative justice presents important opportunities for those who work in the criminal justice system and those interested in community building through informal mechanisms of social control. Yet fears exist that as a result of the 'paradoxical identity' (Pavlich, 2005) of restorative justice, greater integration within the traditional justice system will lead to its co-optation. This article argues that any identity challenge can be addressed by re-situating restorative justice principles within existent criminological theories such as social disorganization, social learning and moral development. In this way, the values and characteristics central to restorative processes can be seen as complimentary and consistent and common theoretical ground can serve as the basis for greater cooperative ventures between individuals, communities and the state.

Keywords: moral development; peacemaking criminology; restorative justice; social disorganization; social learning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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