What is 'Peacemaking Criminology?'  What are its central tenets?

lit24 | Student

“Peacemaking criminology” emerged about 15 years ago, with the publication of Harold Pepinsky and Richard Quinney’s edited reader titled Criminology as Peacemaking (1991). In the Introduction in Page ix they state,

"in recent years there have been proposals and programs that foster mediation, conflict resolution, reconciliation and community. They are part of an emerging criminology that seeks to alleviate suffering and reduce crime."

According to the authors peacemaking criminology is a process of peacefully preventing and responding to law-breaking and harmful socially disruptive behaviors, which are the by-products and symptoms of maladjusted local and international communities. Rather than being based on retribution and punishment - an eye for an eye principle -  peacemaking criminology is based on principles stemming from the religious, humanist, critical, and feminist traditions.

Peacemaking emphasizes conflict resolution, rehabilitation, restorative justice, and a belief that people must cooperate in democratic institutions in order to develop purposeful communities. Crime is not excused. The peace perspective emphasizes social justice.

Generally speaking peacemaking criminology contends that crime is connected to human suffering and that to put a full stop to crime, we must first end suffering. This means that poverty, racism, sexism, alienation, abuse within families, harassment, and all other forms of violence and exploitation must be dealt with if crime is to be reduced. Moreover, peacemaking criminology argues  that the state itself perpetuates crime (and violence) through harsh policies of social control such as the death penalty, lengthy prison sentences for offenders, and the criminalization of non-violent drug offenses. Peacemaking criminology further asserts that the focus on individual offenders has been at the neglect of certain institutional arrangements in society which results in our high crime rate, and that criminology should concern itself with promoting a greater amount of social equity across the various social class groups. Finally, peacemaking criminology argues that the most significant change to be made by the criminal justice system is to move away from criminal justice to restorative justice which is balanced and remedial.