How would a conservative reply to a call for more restorative justice? 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In general, most conservatives would respond to calls for more restorative justice by arguing that a more punitive approach is needed.  They would make these arguments for at least three reasons.  These reasons include:

  • Reasons of justice.  Conservatives would argue that it is just for people who break the law to be punished.  They would argue that it is not enough for them to do something to repair the harm done by their actions.  Instead, they need to be punished in order for justice to be done.
  • Reasons of incapacitation.  Conservatives would argue for more punitive sanctions such as imprisonment because it ensures that criminals will not commit any further crimes for the term of their incarceration.  They would argue that it is all well and good to try to make restitution, but that the safety of the public is better served by putting criminals away where they cannot hurt innocent people.
  • Reasons of social cohesion.  Conservatives would also argue that society cannot hold together if people who transgress are not punished.  If all that is asked of criminals is that they in some way repair the damage they have done, society will fall apart.  People will no longer feel that government protects them from those who do wrong.  They will feel there is no reward to those who follow the rules.  Society will then start to break apart as fewer and fewer people actually follow rules.

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