Forensic Linguistics


Restorative Justice

  • Different Approaches
    • Retributive Justice 
      • Controlling crime 
      • Dispensive justice 
      • Retribution 
      • Punishment 
      • Imprisonment or intense supervision 
      • Deter criminal law breakers 
      • Express social disaproval
      • Inflicting just a measure of pain to satisfy need for justice 
    • Restorative Justice responds
      • Punitive interventions: moral? effective? 
      • What if social disapproval just makes things worse?
      • Professional criminal justice employees might not be best for controlling and deterring crime 
      • Facilitated involvement of ordinary people 
      • How can people change if they're not respected? 
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Restorative Justice as process

  • In Retributive Justice:
    • Victims and offenders positioned as adversaries 
    • Direct communication discouraged 
    • Expected to remain passive - key decisions by professionals 
  • In Restorative Justice:
    • Victim and offender meet 
    • Victim and offender talk - face to face 
    • Victim and offender participate in decision making 
    • Resorative Justice meeting 
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Examples of Restorative Justice Process

  • Victim tells offender hwo crime affected them
  • Helps offender to recognise that their behaviour does harm people 
  • Helps offender to recognise extent of harm 
  • Offenders can account for themselves 
  • Offender can answer victims questions 
  • Offender can offer apology and reparation 
  • Other forms of Restorative Process 
    • SORI Programme
    • Large scale operations 
    • Whole communities 
    • More than one offender and victim
    • The Global Stage 
      • Truth and Reconciliation Comission: South Africa 
      • Post-genocide Rwanda 
  • Restorative Justice as goals and outcomes 
    • Richer forms of justice (than retributive justice)
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Restorative Justice Process

  • Activities leading to goals and outcomes
    • Offenders
      • Repairing harm 
      • Experiencing and expressing repentance 
      • Being fully reintergrated into communities 
    • Victims
      • Being healed of the trauma they faced
  • Talk Activities 
    • Respectful and constructive dialogue
    • Apology
    • Explanation of harm 
    • Giving victims a voice 
    • Non-dominated speech 
    • Peaceful cooperated dialogue 
    • Informal communication 
    • RJ practitioners talk of offenders, victims and crimes as if these terms were value free alternatives - conflicts, parties in dispute 
    • Appealing to offender consciences
    • Strengthening relationships
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Research - Martin et al 2009

  • New South Wales - systematic functional linguistic approach 
  • Alternative to court sentencing for:
    • Under 18s 
    • Who have admitted guilt 
    • Who agree to participate 
  • Typical participants 
    • Offender: supprt person (family, social worker)
    • Victim: support person 
    • Police officer: conveyor, ethnic or indigenous community liason person, lawyer 
  • Results
    • Outcome plan (by agreement) - actions needed from offender to repair harm 
  • Provisional characterisation of elements of Youth Justice Conferences
    • Gathering, legal framing, comissioned recount of the offence, exploring consequences for various parties, tabling possible remedies, brokering a collective agreement, ratification of outcome plan, formal closing, dispersal 
  • Findings
    • Highly visible regulative discourse with the conveyor controlling the interactions, conveyor initiates almost all interactions, interpretation of recount is jointly constructed with the conveyor introducing virtually all evaluation 
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