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Lessons for Justice Reinvestment from Restorative Justice and the Justice Model Experience

Lessons for justice reinvestment from
restorative justice and the justice model
Some tips for an 8-year-old prodigy
Shadd Maruna
Queen’s University Belfast
Has a criminological idea ever has caught on as rapidly as “justice reinvestment?” As recently
as 2002, no one outside of a small circle of justice activists and ex-prisoners in New York
had ever even heard of justice reinvestment. By 2009, the state of Michigan’s bipartisan
“Justice Reinvestment Working Group” was outlining plans to channel $300 million saved
by closing prisons into community improvement work. Parallel developments are in the
works across a wide variety of states (including unexpected ones like Texas), and a similar
enthusiasm has spread internationally. In the United Kingdom, a House of Commons paper
called Cutting Crime: The Case for Justice Reinvestment (2009) has garnered support from all
three major political parties and has generated considerable activity on the ground. That is
not too shabby for an 8-year-old idea considering that many of us are still trying to finish
book chapters based on ideas we had a decade ago.
Perhaps most remarkably, as Todd Clear (2011, this issue) rightly points out, justice
reinvestment (hereafter, JR) has enjoyed all this success even though the idea is still “in its
infancy,” has been only “sort of” defined, is not based on a “strong empirical foundation,”
and above all, does not really qualify as being a proper “theory!” As such, Clear’s first-
ever, rigorous academic assessment of the JR idea is a badly needed contribution to this
discussion. It is also something of a shame, of course, as Clear’s exposure of the idea to the
cold light of day does reveal some of the devils buried in its details.
After all, justice reinvestment is a thing of beauty. By which, I mean it is an aesthetically
compelling idea or, as per the American Heritage Dictionary, a vision characterized by “the
Direct correspondence to Shadd Maruna, Queen’s University Belfast, 29 University Square, Belfast BT7 1NN,
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (e-mail:
DOI:10.1111/j.1745-9133.2011.00752.x C2011 American Society of Criminology 661
Criminology & Public Policy rVolume 10 rIssue 3
Policy Essay Justice Reinvestment
quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as
harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness, and originality.” One read of
Susan Tucker and Eric Cadora’s brief 2003 paper spelling this argument out, and one is
immediately struck by the elegance of both the critique and the proposed solution. Indeed,
with justice reinvestment, the aesthetic element has been intrinsic from the earliest days of
the idea. The maps of “million dollar blocks” first promoted by Eric Cadora and colleagues
were both logically and visually compelling. According to an article in the New Yorker
magazine (an outlet that certainly appreciates aesthetics):
Cadora and his team believe that their map depicts a system spending millions
to imprison people but little on the communities to which they return. Cadora
clicked on a map of New York State that charted the migration patterns of
Brooklyn criminals: thousands of lines sprang from Kings County to prisons
all over—Attica, Watertown, Great Meadow. The image was striking, like a
bird’s spread wing. “We’ve had art galleries ask to exhibit the maps,” [architect
Laura] Kurgan said. (MacIntyre, 2007)
That the JR idea should appeal to both art galleries and policy makers should be
no surprise. One key finding in the research literature on beauty is that humans seem to
be hardwired to find symmetry beautiful, whether in art, architecture, or facial features
(Enquist and Arak, 1994). This desire for balance is nowhere more fundamental than in the
area of justice studies, and the symmetry inherent in ideas like the “just deserts,” “restorative
justice,” and JR is undeniable. As different as they are, the logics of an “eye for an eye,”
“making amends” for harm caused, and investing justice dollars in the communities with the
greatest crime problems all appeal to this human preference for the elegance of symmetry
and balance.
The difficulty—as evident in Clear’s (2011) far messier portrait of what JR might
look like in actual practice—is the translation of beautiful ideas into workable policy. It
is notable (and somewhat alarming to those of us in academia), for instance, that JR has
moved from beautiful idea into real-world practice without a stopover first in academic
theory development. In his article, Clear suggests that the JR idea spread by old-fashioned
“word of mouth.” Although true, this “word” was accelerated by media coverage in outlets
like the New Yorker and the Village Voice, itself made possible through a very late-modern
network of think tanks and foundations. Criminology journals have been notably absent
(until Clear’s important intervention) on this road from conception to global success, raising
concerns for academia1but also for the JR movement.
1. Wacquant (2009) described a parallel development, albeit emerging from the political Right, with
broken windows theory. This surely says something important about the relevance (or possibly
irrelevance) of traditional academic publishing practices to contemporary policy debates, but that is for
another article (see Uggen and Inderbitzin, 2010).
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Although in his article Clear (2011) does briefly link JR to other existing bodies of
research and theory (in particular, giving a nod in the direction of restorativeand community
justice theory as well as the literature on community development in general), there is an
undeniable element of “chronocentrism” (or disavowal of the past) in this and other JR
publications. In his article “Chronocentrism and British criminology,” Paul Rock (2005)
empirically demonstrates that the majority of criminological articles “display a largely unex-
amined propensity to ignore writings that are more than fifteen or so years old.” He argued
that this disciplinary amnesia challenges the field’s ability to cumulate knowledge and leaves
criminology open for the periodic reinvention of wheels. Some of this might be on display
with the justice reinvestment movement. For instance, Tucker and Cadora’s (2003) hugely
creative, original article on JR does not cite a single piece of previous research or theory, nor
do many of the Council of State Government documents on cited
by Clear. Clear’s own article is better in this regard, briefly referencing Austin and Krisberg
(1982) and Lemert and Dill (1978)—importantly both are cited as cautionary tales for those
who think creating alternatives to incarceration is straightforward. Yet, even Clear’s article
still manages to cite more than 15 references from 2010 compared with only 4 from before
Clear (2011) acknowledges this weakness, admitting that “[t]he most significant
problem” with his own JR proposal is that “this is new.” Of course, this novelty is probably
among the plan’s chief strengths as well. The lack of scholarly baggage allows the idea
to remain politically “neutral.” If one wants to garner the cross-ideological support that
documents like The Case for Justice Reinvestment (House of Commons Justice Committee,
2009) have achieved in the United Kingdom, one best avoid linking the policy to better
developed theories that have already been labeled (and discarded) as too “soft” for the Right
or insufficiently radical for justice activists on the Left.
Yet, efforts like Clear’s (2011) to flesh out JR into a practical plan of action also expose
the weaknesses of such an ahistorical approach. The JR idea, as Clear readily admits, is too
thin on its own to cover all of the necessary complexity of a working model of justice and
therefore needs to be situated on the shoulders of theories and models of justice that have
preceded it. It also could learn a great deal from the failings of previous efforts to transform
beautiful ideas into real-world revolutions. Surely, there must be a graveyard somewhere
that contains the skeletons of ideas once touted as “the solution” for crime and justice, and
it would behoove those of us who are highly excited by the promise of JR to do a little
digging among these bones.
Learning from Past Panaceas
Has a criminological idea ever has caught on as rapidly as justice reinvestment? Actually,
maybe so. Ideas like community policing, drug courts/therapeutic jurisprudence, broken
windows theory, and the “what works” principles in corrections all “went viral” in their own
day in their own way. An enterprising Ph.D. student somewhere should do a “sociology of
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Policy Essay Justice Reinvestment
ideas” study comparing a sample of these various super-trends to understand more clearly
the dynamics that generate the “next big thing” in criminological thinking. The two ideas
that provide the most instructive comparisons (on multiple levels) for JR, however, are
probably the “justice model” and “restorative justice.” Like JR, both big ideas benefited
(and ultimately suffered) from unusual Left–Right political coalitions, mainstream media
coverage, and groundswells of popular support. Restorative justice and the justice model
(which are of course still alive and well) have the closest theoretical links to JR, as well, so
it is also worth unpicking the convergences and divergences with the justice reinvestment
The “justice model” is the name given to the reform agenda that first emerged in the
1970s placing “just deserts” and due process at the center of sanctioning policy. According
to Cavender (1984: 204), “[t]he keystone of the justice model retribution. ... Simply
put, it is the idea that rational people deserve punishment if they violate the law.” This
may sound a far cry from the progressive ideals of JR, but when it was first promoted
around four decades ago in works like Struggle for Justice (AFSC Working Party, 1971)
and Doing Justice (von Hirsch, 1976), the justice model drew from a similar support base
and had similar selling points to those of JR today. “And sell, it did,” according to Moore
(1989: 76). “People who had been dissatisfied (or outraged) by the criminal justice system
found Doing Justice to be The Answer. ... Legislatures and parole boards moved ahead
with incredible alacrity to put the reforms into effect.” The original idea emerged out
of the prisoner rights movement and had radical ambitions and implications. For some
prominent activists, in fact, the justice model proposals “fit logically into a program for
building a socialist movement in the United States” (Greenberg and Humphries, 1980:
To say these ambitions were not fully achieved is something of an understatement.
According to Cohen (1985: 113), “[t]he progressive, even radical thrust to the original
‘struggle for justice’ movement ...was transformed by powerful interests. Only one element
of the ideology was abstracted—the individualistic, moralistic notion of justice—and the
rest was discarded.” Indeed, the first eulogies for the justice model began to appear only
a few years after the idea’s inception, as it became clear that the changes resulting from
the justice model idea “bear only a superficial resemblance to the principles they purport
to embody” (Greenberg and Humphries, 1980: 221). The justice model idea still has its
contemporary champions among the 1970s true believers (notably in the pleasingly retro
Austin et al. 2007 report, cited and coauthored by Clear), but none can look back at the
disgrace of the last 30 years of penal policy in the United States and argue that mistakes
were not made. I will offer just two of the better-known lessons that might (or might not)
have relevance for the JR movement:
The Negative is easier than the positive, but the positive is more important. Justice model
advocates were scathing in their criticisms of the rehabilitative ideal; they spent much time
articulating the sinister underbelly of the therapeutic state, and they achieved substantial
664 Criminology & Public Policy
victories in undermining the perceived legitimacy of this work. They spent much less energy
imagining what would emerge in the place of the rehabilitative ideal and (hopefully) did not
imagine the grotesque and degrading human warehouses that filled the void left behind by
the therapeutic state’s demise (see Toch, 1980, for one dissenting voice that predicted this
outcome). The JR movement, somewhat parallel, focuses primarily on the waste of mass
incarceration, but JR advocates may not be devoting the same amount of attention to what
would be involved in the community development work that would theoretically replace it.
Look out for cooptation by powerful interest groups. The justice model played brilliantly
into the hands of the “penal harm” movement by providing a fancy justification for dein-
vesting in support services and responsibilizing disadvantaged individuals and communities.
Despite its origins among progressive justice advocates, the language of the justice model was
quickly co-opted by those with different agendas. Likewise, the JR movement is accruing
some strange bedfellows as it grows. As Clear (2011) argues, the perception that JR is
fiscally conservative has been one of the idea’s key selling points, and it is easy to imagine JR
language being used as cover when cutting state jobs and challenging unions. Clear’s article
will raise additional concerns by assigning a fairly central role to for-profit companies in the
private sector. Afterall, as Feeley (2002: 322) has shown in his assessment of “entrepreneurs of
punishment,” the legacy of privatization has been penal expansion: “when successful, private
efforts have ...expanded, not contracted public social control ...and public expenditures.”
To its considerable credit, however, Clear’s proposal recognizes these incentives toward
constant growth and seeks at least to harness these forces in a positive direction. Moreover,
the role to be played by private-sector companies in Clear’s vision is actually one in which
there is firm criminological evidence of effectiveness: They are to act primarily as employers
(not as service providers or treatment experts), and ample research suggests a strong link
between such employment and desistance from crime (Laub and Sampson, 2001; Uggen,
Still, there are concerning parallels (albeit opaque ones) between Clear’s (2011)
hypothetical JR proposal and the push for “postconviction commercial bail” emerging from
the right-wing lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (see Maruna,
Dabney, and Topalli, forthcoming). Under the ALEC plan (already under consideration in
several states), prisoners would only be able to secure their release only by posting “post-
conviction bail.” As with pretrial bail, the individual would pay a percentage of this amount
(for instance, $10,000 for release bail that is set at $100,000) as a nonrefundable charge to be
released to the responsibility of a commercial bail agency. Persons in the participant’s release
environment, such as parents and guardians, voluntarily sign agreements of indemnity
whereby they, along with the individual, would have a monetary incentive as indemnitors
to the surety, to encourage compliance by the participant. After a breach, the bond could
be revoked, and bounty hunters can be legally empowered to bring the individual back
to prison. Unsurprisingly, the idea is being pushed strongly by the representatives of the
commercial bail bonding industry who have not hesitated to use the rhetoric of “reducing
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Policy Essay Justice Reinvestment
prison overcrowding” (Maruna et al., forthcoming). Who is to say that such a program will
not go further and adopt the rhetoric of “justice reinvestment” as well?
Indeed, despite the parallels and shared origins with the justice model, chief among
the gaps in the JR idea exposed in Clear’s (2011) helpful article is the question of “what
about justice?” Not justice department spending, but justice itself. The hypothetical JR
vouchers, as outlined by Clear, for instance, would certainly raise numerous traditional
justice concerns, ranging from parity/consistency to “less eligibility.” Desert theorists, like
von Hirsch and Ashworth (1998) would, I imagine, have real issues with the idea of one’s
“community” or victim—let alone some private employer—deciding whether a person
should be released early or spared imprisonment altogether. One might predict systematic
biases between those selected for the JR alternatives and those left to serve their full sentence
behind bars.
To address such concerns, JR needs (as Clear [2011] acknowledges) to be situated
within the much better established (although still developing and amorphous) literature
on restorative justice theory. Restorative justice is “best understood as a different way
of ‘doing justice’ by repairing the harm caused by crime in a non-adversarial process
that invites offenders to ‘take responsibility’ rather than simply take their punishment”
(Bazemore and Maruna, 2009: 376). The JR literature is infused with restorative concepts
throughout, although interestingly the “restorative” term is generally avoided. Indeed,
Dennis M. Maloney’s work has come to symbolize the heart of the JR movement, but
before there was JR, Maloney understood himself as working very much in the restorative
justice tradition (see Maloney and Umbreit, 1995). There is a reason for this: Without
adopting the logic of restorative justice and situating itself in this wider, possibly more
radical framework, JR simply does not make sense.
Despite its logical beauty, the JR idea, on its own, has no real theory of justice.
Embedded within JR, there are underdeveloped empirical, utilitarian claims (i.e., that
creating jobs and improving infrastructure in high-crime neighborhoods will prevent future
crime) and an implicit theory of social/distributive justice (i.e., that resources should be
focused where need is greatest). Yet, there is no normative theory of criminal justice—why
the reinvestment of justice resources is a just response to the harms that were committed.
Whereas the JR discussion has, since its origins, involved sophisticated discussions of
economics and cost-effectiveness (and the restorative justice movement on the other hand
has never met an economist as far as I am aware), JR lacks the sophisticated normative
foundations of restorative justice (e.g., Braithwaite and Pettit, 1990).
As such, the fact that JR advocates seem to distance themselves from the wider and
better developed restorative justice movement speaks volumes for the future of the latter,
itself a previous heir to the title of “The Answer” in criminal justice.2The rise and rise
2. There may be a geographical component to these things too. For its critics (e.g., Acorn, 2004),
restorative justice is associated with deeply unhip places like rural Indiana, Wagga Wagga in Australia,
666 Criminology & Public Policy
of restorative justice throughout the past two decades (but especially the 1990s) was just
as swift as that of the justice model, with equally impressive successes, but the restorative
justice movement’s failings are almost the opposite of those of the justice model (as indeed
the two theories are famously in opposition; see e.g., von Hirsch and Ashworth, 1998).
Again, there are many lessons here, but I will only pick two for space purposes.
Don’t let them put you on the fringes. Even the strongest advocates of restorative
justice acknowledge that, despite the widespread adoption of restorative practices across
nearly every continent on the globe, the idea has been too often marginalized into
“boutique” or tokenistic “programs” (Bazemore and Maruna, 2009) rather than delivering
the fundamental overhaul of criminal justice promised by the movement’s early advocates.
The ghettoizing of restorative ideas into interventions designed for adolescents caught
committing misdemeanor or very low-level criminal offenses (shoplifting, unsafe driving)
in so many jurisdictions has tarred the “restorative” brand and raised the serious risk of
“net-widening” (Cohen, 1985). Conceivably, JR could suffer a similar fate. Indeed, Clear’s
(2011) statement that “[j]ustice reinvestment work has been carried out in over a dozen
locations, but in every one of them the correctional budget has continued to grow” has to be a
wake-up call in terms of this potential marginalization of justice reinvestment as yet another
“add-on” project. Additionally, some of the standards that Clear sets in his list of principles
(e.g., “No benefits follow when the decision leads to more crime” and “Nothing happens
without both system and community oversight”) sound remarkably stringent (would the
same rules apply for decisions to incarcerate?) raising the concerns that such alternatives
will be limited in their potential scope.
At the same time, avoid overpromising. Whereas the justice model’s virtue was that it
promised so little (and, some would say delivered on this!), restorative justice from the
beginning made ambitious claims that were bound to come back to haunt it. Restorative
justice critics like Annalise Acorn—a former advocate turned apostate who says she had
been “seduced” by restorative justice’s “utopian” promises—mock the hyperbolic rhetoric
associated with the movement as a way of discrediting the theory. For instance, Acorn
(2004: 67) wrote, “No punitive system would presume to promise ‘healing’ to victims.”
Such published critiques of restorative justice are often self-contradictory and paper-thin
(see Morris, 2002); yet many criminologists and criminal justice practitioners feel a deep-
seated distrust of the theory for reasons they often cannot articulate. When pressed, many
admit that their reaction is more gut-level than rational; they fear there is something too
evangelical or too proselytizing about restorative justice’s support base, and as naturally
skeptical social scientists, they resist it.
Vermont, and New Zealand. JR, however, is straight out of New York, with its upstate prisoners (sent “up
the river”) and downstate parolees—not to mention its media outlets, think tanks, and universities. The
JR idea itself surely plays better among city dwellers as well, with its promise of resources flowing from
rural to urban economies.
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Justice reinvestment advocates can certainly learn from this experience as well. The
enthusiasm surrounding this 8-year-old idea is encouraging and contagious, but the idea
may need less hype and more sober scrutiny to shoulder the burdens of this great promise.
One place to start is to begin subjecting the idea to the sort of rigorous academic examination
that Clear (2011) initiates with his article. The JR that results from such analysis over the
next decade may not be as beautiful as the initial JR vision, but it may be stronger, wiser,
and more resilient than some of its predecessor panaceas. I, for one, hope so.
Acorn, Annalise. 2004. Compulsory Compassion: A Critique of Restorative Justice. Vancouver:
University of British Columbia Press.
American Friends Service Committee Working Party. 1971. Struggle for Justice: A Report on
Crime and Punishment in America. New York: Hill and Wang.
Austin, James and Barry Krisberg. 1982. The unmet promise of alternatives to incarceration.
Crime & Delinquency, 28: 374–409.
Austin, James, Todd R. Clear, Troy Duster, David F. Greenberg, John Irwin, Candace
McCoy, Alan Mobley, Barbara Owen, and Joshua Page. 2007. Unlocking America:
Why and How to Reduce America’s Prison Population. Washington, DC: JFA Institute
Bazemore, Gordon and Shadd Maruna. 2009. Restorative justice in the reentry context:
Building new theory and expanding the evidence base. Victims & Offenders, 4: 375–
Braithwaite, John and Philip Pettit. 1990. Not Just Deserts. Oxford, UK: Oxford University
Cavender, Gray. 1984. Justice, sanctioning, and the justice model. Criminology, 22: 203–
Cohen, Stanley. 1985. Visions of Social Control: Crime, Punishment, and Classification.
Cambridge, UK: Polity.
Enquest, Magnus and Anthony Arak. 1994. Symmetry, beauty and evolution. Nature, 372:
Feeley, Malcolm M. 2002. Entrepreneurs of punishment: The legacy of privatization.
Punishment and Society, 4: 321–344.
Greenberg, David F. and Drew Humphries. 1980. The co-optation of fixed sentencing
reform. Crime & Delinquency, 26: 206–225.
House of Commons Justice Committee. 2009. Cutting Crime: The Case for Justice
Reinvestment, First Report of Session 2009–2010, HC 94. London, UK: The Stationery
Laub, John H. and Robert J. Sampson. 2001. Understanding desistance from crime. Crime
and Justice: A Review of Research, 28: 1–70.
Lemert, Edwin and Forrest Dill. 1978. Offenders in the Community: Probation Subsidy in
California. Lexington, MA: Lexington.
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MacIntyre, Lauren. 2007. Rap map. The New Yorker. January 8, 24–25. Retrieved April 1,
2011 from talk macintyre.
Maloney, Dennis M. and Mark S. Umbreit. 1995. Managing change: Toward a balanced
and restorative justice model. Perspectives, 19: 43–46.
Maruna, Shadd, Dean Dabney, and Volkan Topalli. Forthcoming. Putting a price on
prisoner release: A history of bail and future of parole. Punishment and Society.
Moore, Kathleen Dean. 1989. Pardons: Justice, Mercy and the Public Interest.NewYork:
Oxford University Press.
Morris, Allison. 2002. Critiquing the critics: A brief response to critics of restorative justice.
British Journal of Criminology, 42:596–615.
Rock, Paul. 2005. Chronocentrism and British criminology. The British Journal of Sociology,
Toch, Hans. 1980. Designing the just deserts prison. Corrections Magazine, 4: 22–23.
Tucker, Susan and Eric Cadora. 2003. Justice Reinvestment. New York: Open Society
Uggen, Christopher. 2000. Work as a turning point in the life course of criminals: A
duration model of age, employment, and recidivism. American Sociological Review, 67:
Uggen, Christopher and Michelle Inderbitzin. 2010. Public criminologies. Criminology &
Public Policy, 9: 725–750.
von Hirsch, Andrew. 1976. Doing Justice. New York: Hill and Wang.
von Hirsch Andrew and Andrew Ashworth. 1998. Principled Sentencing. Readings on Theory
and Policy. Oxford, UK: Hart.
Wacquant, Loic. 2009. Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity.
Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Shadd Maruna is the Director of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at
the School of Law in Queen’s University Belfast. Previously, he has taught at the University
of Cambridge and at the University at Albany. His book Making Good: How Ex-Convicts
Reform and Rebuild Their Lives was awarded the Michael J. Hindelang Award by the
American Society of Criminology in 2001, and he was the inaugural winner of the Research
Medal from the Howard League for Penal Reform in 2011.
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... Instead of retributive statutes, why not focus on justice reinvestment? 94 Why not illuminate how the state and its institutions fail to protect LGBQ people and then shift focus to building safer communities from the ground up? Indeed, these are key questions related to how we think about recognition and each can orient us towards a more just redistribution of social justice in criminal justice. ...
Full-text available
In this chapter, we query how justice is queered when we consider the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, or other sexually diverse people, and how the recognition of LGBQ people may in fact change what we mean by social justice. We focus on sexual minorities rather than gender minorities but acknowledge that gender-diverse people’s experiences are important to understand and often intersect with those experienced by people of diverse sexualities. We first outline what we mean by social justice, and then consider how the landscapes of social (in)justice change when we apply a southern gaze. Through the lenses of southern theory and queer criminology, we discuss the complex and at times contradictory intersections between social and criminal justice for LGBQ people by focusing on redistribution and recognition. We suggest that these two processes must work in tandem to achieve utopian ends, but often cannot due to structural and institutional constraints. From these critical positions, we then discuss how queer-blind social justice within criminal justice has negatively affected the lives of LGBQ people. We conclude by reflecting on dominant ethics and strategies for pursuing social justice.
... But even under the more radical approach preferred by Austin et al. (2013), it is not clear that there would be sufficient savings for community reinvestment. Kleiman (2011) Additionally, justice reinvestment advocates did not address the potential for increasing inequities and disparities in resources, services, and the administration of justice that could arise from devolving authority to localities (Allen 2011); and that pragmatic appeals to instrumental arguments about costs and benefits ignored fundamental issues about the severity of sentencing in the United States (Maruna 2011;Mayer & Patti 2015;Tonry 2011). ...
Full-text available
Justice reinvestment was introduced in the early 2000s as a means to respond to the massive growth in incarceration in the United States that had occurred during the past three decades by diverting offenders from prison and redirecting a portion of the associated corrections expenditures into communities to build their capacities to manage offenders locally. Over the next 17 years, the concept evolved into a Congressionally funded federal grant program that shifted the focus of reinvestment away from community reinvestment and toward a state-agency practice improvement model that ultimately aimed to improve public safety. A distinct form of justice reinvestment, the Justice Reinvestment Initiative ( JRI), was the dominant practice of justice reinvestment in the United States. It was organized as a public–private partnership that engaged states in bipartisan efforts to enact legislative reforms and other policies to address sentencing and corrections practices and adopt high-performing evidence-based practices (EBPs) that would yield the desired public safety benefits. JRI contributed to legislative reforms and adoption of EBPs, especially in community supervision. But JRI has not been shown to have achieved its objectives of reducing correctional populations, achieving savings, and improving public safety. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Criminology, Volume 3 is January 13, 2020. Please see for revised estimates.
... RJ has long been associated with emotional 'transformation'. In fact, it is this very potential for emotional transformation, described almost effervescently by advocates and practitioners of RJ, which is unsettling for those outside the field (Maruna, 2011). Emerging evidence supports the view that RJ can alleviate emotional harm (Miller, 2011;Miller and Hefner, 2015;Rynearson, 2001) and even reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress (Angel, 2014;Gustafson, 2005). ...
... The most damaging possibility is that the rehabilitation-for-profit private prison is added to a disappointing history of progressive reforms that have instead resulted in an increased reliance on coercion and control (Cullen & Gilbert, 1982;Pisciotta, 1994;Rothman, 1980). This might seem an unimaginable outcome given the restructuring of what is profitable, but the "corruption of benevolence" (Levrant, Cullen, Fulton, & Wozniak, 1999) has crept into similar well-intentioned reforms that appealed to the political Left, Right, and the general public (Maruna, 2011). The most relevant of these for the current chapter is a group of policies and programs billed as alternatives to incarceration (e.g., intensive supervision, boot camp). ...
... Some researchers (e.g. Hudson, 2006;Maruna, 2011;Simson, 2012) argue that RJ practices are capable of resolving power inequalities within the community amidst racerelated tensions. None of these researchers have however proffered a methodical, operational mechanism by which to do so. ...
Studies on Restorative Justice (RJ) ideology in school settings have largely focused on Western societies, to the neglect of African societies. This means that variables relevant to the Ghanaian setting that might be associated with RJ ideology have not been examined. The current study investigates the association between High School teachers’ Collectivism, Openness to Experience (OE), and their idea of Restoration. Analysis of data from 191 (Male = 128, Female = 63) teachers in Accra indicated that Collectivism and OE both predicted the idea of Restoration. This suggests that both Collectivism and OE are important resources that may help teachers embrace the idea of restoring a student offender to morally acceptable behaviour. This and other findings are discussed.
Implementation of restorative justice in the juvenile justice system in many countries has undergone its dynamics in the past few decades, including in Indonesia. The enactment of Indonesia Juvenile Justice System Law in mid-2014, which invalidates the 1997 Juvenile Court Law, became a significant point of juvenile justice reformation in Indonesia. The new Law began to shift the retributive paradigm in the Juvenile Court Law, as the previous statutory basis for juvenile justice in Indonesia, to restorative justice paradigm. The new Law introduces the Diversion mechanism as a means to implement the restorative justice approach. This article seeks to discuss how restorative justice can be contextualized through diversion mechanism, as well as to consider whether the new Indonesia Juvenile Justice System utilises restorative justice in a marginalized, boutique, or tokenistic way. Furthermore, this article uses statutory and theoretical approaches to examine the contextualization of restorative justice through the diversion mechanism introduced in the new Juvenile Justice System Law.
The General Medical Council decides if, when they are convicted of a crime, a doctor in the United Kingdom should be allowed to continue in their employment. This article is the first to detail these decisions for the period 2005-15. No doctor was barred from practising medicine for serious violent and sex offences, including rape, possession of images of child sexual abuse, manslaughter and domestic violence. These findings are placed in the context of contemporary developments in criminal record reform and criminological analysis of the relationship between employment and desistance. It is concluded that the high degree of devolved discretion allowed to elite professional occupations must be subjected to further critical scrutiny and policy reform.
Restorative justice (RJ) emerged in the late 1970s as an alternative to conventional youth and criminal justice practices. Since this time, RJ has experienced rapid growth in theory and practice. At the same time, much of this growth has come from expansion in lower-end criminal justice responses to crime, and in the increasing use of the term “restorative” for a widening host of practices and interventions. RJ has also faced problems related to its increasing institutionalization, resulting in divergence from earlier aims and goals. In this article, we set forth what we see as the four biggest challenges facing the future of RJ, namely problems related to definition, institutionalization, displacement, and relevance of RJ practices. We follow with discussion of possible future directions of RJ.
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Sociologists have increasingly emphasized "turning points" in explaining behavioral change over the life course. Is work a turning point in the life course of criminal offenders? If criminals are provided with jobs, are they likely to stop committing crimes? Prior research is inconclusive because work effects have been biased by selectivity and obscured by the interaction of age and employment. This study yields more refined estimates by specifying event history models to analyze assignment to, eligibility for, and current participation in a national work experiment for criminal offenders. Age is found to interact with employment to affect the rate of self-reported recidivism: Those aged 27 or older are less likely to report crime and arrest when provided with marginal employment opportunities than when such opportunities are not provided. Among young participants, those in their teens and early twenties, the experimental job treatment had little effect on crime. Work thus appears to be a turning point for older, but not younger, offenders.
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In this article, we argue that the history of bail foretells the future of parole. Under a plan called the Conditional Post-Conviction Release Bond Act (recently passed into law in three states), US prisoners can secure early release only after posting ‘post-conviction bail’. As with pre-trial bail, the fledgling model would require prisoners to pay a percentage of the bail amount to secure their release under the contractual responsibility of a commercial bail agency. If release conditions are breached, bounty hunters are legally empowered to seize and return the parolee to prison. Our inquiry outlines the origins of this post-conviction bond plan and the research upon which it is based. Drawing on the ‘new penology’ framework, we identify several underlying factors that make for a ripe advocacy environment and set the stage for widespread state-level adoption of this plan in the near future. Post-conviction bail fits squarely within the growing policy trends toward privatization, managerialism, and actuarial justice. Most importantly, though, advocates have the benefit of precedent on their side, as most US states have long relied on a system of commercial bail bonding and private bounty hunting to manage conditional pretrial release.
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Privatization of corrections is problematic in large part because advocates claim that private contractors can provide the same or better services at less cost than public agencies. This article argues that there is another, even more important issue: privatization is fostered by entrepreneurs who do much more than provide alternative sources of services; they create demand for and then supply new forms of social control. Indeed, the history of modern criminal justice is to some extent the history of the success of entrepreneurs in generating new or significantly expanded forms of social control. The article examines the history of entrepreneurs in establishing transportation in the 18th century and the modern prison in the 19th, and then draws parallels to contemporary efforts to provide private prisons, ‘community-based’ juvenile facilities, and electronic monitoring programs.
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Although there is currently considerable activity around improving the reentry process for former prisoners returning to society, much of this work lacks a strong theoretical and empirical foundation. With its well-developed theoretical grounding and its growing evidence base, the restorative justice movement provides an obvious place to start when thinking about reintegration. Yet there has been relatively little application of restorative models in the reentry context. We argue that restorative justice interventions are too often focused on the “soft end” of the justice process, when a growing body of evidence suggests that restorative practices might be more effectively focused on the reintegration process for more serious offenses. We provide examples of Canadian and U.S. programs that could be considered emerging models of “restorative reentry.”
Criticism of indeterminate sentencing was initially advanced as part of a larger radical program to transform American society. Yet recent sentencing reform legislation legitimated by this criticism has taken on a con servative character. This development is documented here, and explained in terms of political and social change over the past decade.
A careful review of the research literature on alternatives to incarcera tion suggests that their promise of reducing the prison population has remained largely unmet. For each of the reform strategies reviewed, the nonincarcerative options were transformed, serving criminal jus tice system values and goals other than reducing imprisonment. Sen tencing alternatives, such as restitution and community service, were found to enhance the sanctions of probation and fines instead of re placing incarceration. Similarly, postincarceration release programs, such as work release and work furlough, often escalated the level of control over clients and served primarily to control populations within prison systems. Increasing the availability of community correctional facilities has not reduced populations in secure confinement. Com munity correction legislation appears less likely to reduce incarcera tion than to change the location of imprisonment from the state in stitutions to county jails. Moreover, initial declines in state prison commitments can be neutralized by modifying over time other sen tencing or release policies that increase prison populations. Although community correction legislation may have redistributed correctional costs and shifted decision making from state to local levels, it is ques tionable whether it has made a long-term contribution to reduced im prisonment. Progress in alternatives will remain frustrated until re forms are more carefully implemented and until proponents of alter natives are willing to test their ideologies through rigorous research. Furthermore, a new political consensus must emerge outside the crim inal justice system in which the values of punishment and public safe ty are rationally balanced with fiscal constraints and competing claims for public revenue.