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Models of Justice:

Retributive vs Restorative

Retributive Justice

Broad focus: crimes are against the

Emphasis on punishing those who have
committed crimes
The punishment should fit the crime

Kants Debt Metaphor

Citizens in a society enjoy the benefits of a rule

of law
According to the principle of fair play, the loyal
citizen must do their part in this system of
reciprocal restraint
An individual who seeks the benefits of living
under the rule of law without being willing to
make the necessary sacrifices of self-restraint is
a free rider
Theyve helped themselves to unfair advantages,
and the state needs to prevent this to preserve
the rule of law

Kants Debt Metaphor

In cases of wrongdoing, someone who merits

certain benefits has lost them, while someone
who does not deserve those benefits has gained
Punishment "removes the undeserved benefit by
imposing a penalty that in some sense balances
the harm inflicted by the offense.
It is suffered as a debt that the wrongdoer owes
their fellow citizens

Restorative Justice

Rights-based approach focusing on

peaceful resolution of wrongs
Not so much based on punishing the
offender, but on having the offender set
things right by recognizing, accepting, and
taking real responsibility for their actions
Similar to Aboriginal concept of Healing
Justice: healing the wrong in a cooperative

Retributive Justice

Restorative Justice

Crime is an act against the state, a

violation of a law (abstract)

Crime is an act against another person and

the community

Crime is an individual act with

individual responsibility

Crime has both individual and social

dimensions of responsibility

Punishment is effective (threat of

punishment deters crime;
punishment changes behaviour)

Punishment alone is not effective in

changing behaviour and is disruptive to
community harmony and good

Victims are peripheral to the


Victims are central to the process of

resolving a crime

Focus on establishing blame or

guilt, on the past (did he/she do it?)

Focus on the problem solving, on

liabilities/obligations, on the future (what
should be done?)

Emphasis on adversarial

Emphasis on dialogue and negotiation