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The restoration of trust: Bringing restorative justice from the margins to the mainstream

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After a period of remarkable growth, restorative justice now faces a dual challenge: the multiplicity of views concerning its core values and the practical dilemma of gaining wider acceptance in "mainstream" criminal practice. In this article, the author proposes a theory of restorative justice based on the core value of restoring trust, and attempts to identify those factors regarded by the victim and the community as necessary for regaining trust, including the requirement of deserved punishment. Understanding and utilizing these prerequisites for restoring trust becomes the basis for a rational and empirically defensible sentencing policy, and enables the principles of restorative justice to be used for adult and serious crimes as well as for juvenile, property offenses. Procedural implications of this theory include the delegation of sentencing discretion to crime victims within boundaries established by principles of proportionality and the rule of law.

Keywords: Core values; Punishment; Restorative justice; Sentencing; Trust

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, USA

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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