Manual Just Emotions: Rituals of Restorative Justice (Clarendon Studies in Criminology)

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This article explores one of numerous potential 'conditions of emergence' of restorative justice--the discourses of the therapeutic', 'recovery', 'self-help' and 'New Age' movements. It aims to investigate the ways in which the taken-for-granted nature of these discourses have, in part, permitted restorative practices to become an approved way of 'doing justice'. In recent decades and in the last 10 to 15 years in particular, the number of restorative justice initiatives adopted by governments and communities around the world has increased substantially.

Although O'Malley cautions us not to confound the intellectual interest in various penal sanctions with their impact on the 'ground level of justice', it is clear that during the last quarter century there has been a proliferation of restorative justice programs around the world Bottoms, Restorative justice concepts have captured the academic imagination to the extent that Braithwaite has dubbed it 'the slogan of a global social movement' p.

Although this is perhaps an overstatement, given that in some jurisdictions restorative justice 'has no more than a toehold in practice' O'Malley, , p. Also during this time, a great deal of discussion on restorative justice has taken place; the sheer quantity of literature on this topic is rather daunting. In recent years in particular, a body of critical literature on restorative justice has emerged. In addition to the work of those we might call 'critical advocates' of restorative justice such as Ashworth, ; Barton, ; Braithwaite, , ; Daly, , ; Johnstone, , and outright rejections of restorative justice such as Knox, , critical examinations of restorative justice more generally have also been put forward.

Stubbs , and Hudson , , for example, consider restorative justice as it relates to gendered violence; Blagg addresses concerns about the use of restorative justice in indigenous communities; and Garkawe and Strang offer critical analyses of restorative justice from the perspective of victims' rights. A significant proportion of work on restorative justice, however, does not belong to this body of critical literature.

Rather, there exists a substantial quantity of literature in which restorative justice is portrayed as an unproblematic solution to the extensive range of problems associated with traditional justice practices. The emergence of restorative justice as a new direction in which criminal justice policy should proceed is often uncritically accepted by advocates of restorative justice.

Recently, Collins has suggested that individuals seek out repeated chains of ritualistic social interaction. Successful interaction rituals be they formal or informal increase our feelings of long-term social bonding. When applied to restorative justice, collective feelings of solidarity drive success, not specific instances of reintegrative shame or procedural justice. This model emphasizes that rituals can succeed or fail, and specifies the mechanism by which this happens.

According to Collins, there are four main ingredients for a successful ritual: group assembly, a barrier to outsiders, mutual focus, and a shared mood. These factors lead a group to become emotionally entrained with each other. We can see this entrainment in the way people talk and in their body language. For instance, entrained participants tend to make eye contact more often and synchronize their body movements i. This entrainment is also characterized by the development of micro-rhythms in conversation.

There are less Goffmanian awkward silences Goffman ; people abide by turn-taking rules of conversation Sacks et al. Overall, participants develop a rhythmic coordination and synchronization to their conversation, bodily movements, and emotions. In a successful conference, victim and offender develop a social bond through the shared experience of powerful emotions.

Through an emotionally intense, face-to-face interaction, victim, offender, and other participants become entrained with and rhythmically attuned to each other, resulting in a shared experience of solidarity and group emotion. These positive feelings of social solidarity are what works to restore victims and offenders and reduce offending. Viewed this way, restorative justice does not work by inciting any specific emotion in offender or victim, but by ensuring strong collective emotion between conference participants. On the other hand, a failed interaction ritual plays out much differently.

Anyone who has participated in or observed an awkward encounter can attest to this.

There is no rhythmic back-and-forth between participants. The conversation is full of unnaturally long pauses. No emotional connections are made. People do anything they can to get out of these situations. Now, imagine this type of encounter in a restorative justice conference. This is an example of an unsuccessful conference — not likely to encourage restoration or deterrence. Furthermore, interactions can become stratified along power and status lines Kemper ; Kemper and Collins , often becoming rituals that perpetuate power and status differentials between individuals.

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Rather, those with power and status benefit at the expense of the less powerful. Research on the micro-politics of restorative justice Presser and Hamilton suggests that this can also be true in restorative justice conferences.

Additionally, Cook uses qualitative data to explore how the performance of gender and race is connected to the power dynamics as well as notions of accountability is restorative justice conferences. This can help to explain the variations in restorative justice outcomes as documented by Sherman et al. To examine this further, recall the earlier description of a conference.

It starts out disjointed, both Alex and Andrea are anxious and afraid to talk. They give off cues that indicate a lack of engagement.

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Through careful facilitation, this dynamic changes over time. In this conference, it happens when both Andrea and Tara begins to fully articulate the harm of the robbery. As Alex begins to look up more and engage in sustained eye contact with Andrea, she responds similarly. Soon, they have developed the rhythmic entrainment indicative of a successful interaction ritual. Solidarity is externalized toward the end as Andrea and Tara hug. This type of data can be collected through keen observation of restorative justice conferences.

Video recordings of conferences are even better, as they allow us to pause, slow, and rewind the interaction, allowing us ever more micro-analysis of events. This is a promising line of research that can deepen our understanding of how restorative justice works. These turning points are usually structural, such as marriage, employment, or military service. I suggest that powerful interaction ritual in restorative justice can be an emotional turning point, resulting in long-term feelings of social bonding and reduced offending. Other life-changing turning points, such as religious conversion Colson , often point to an emotional component where subjects report an emotional epiphany.

Can a good restorative justice conference provide the space for this epiphany?

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These are empirical questions, and only more research will provide us with answers. Conclusion We have seen how restorative justice can bring restoration and healing to both victims and offenders of crime. I have also presented evidence of its potential to deter future crime. However, there are still many gaps in our theory and research of restorative justice. He has shown how our current state of restorative justice theory has guided the implementation of new programs leading to more empirical research.

We need to keep this cycle going by advancing our theories and innovations, and conducting more theoretically informed research. The incorporation of the sociology of emotions and micro-interaction will be a fruitful avenue for future research. Theoretically driven evaluations of how restorative justice can be a success both to restore and to deter can ultimately provide us with innovations that improve efficiency and effectiveness of restorative justice. Leaders in the movement are already pushing the current boundaries of restorative justice, calling for more research in the areas of rape and sexual offenses Braithwaite ; Daly , domestic violence Presser and Gaarder , war crimes and genocide Braithwaite , and serious adult violence Shapland et al.

We need to encourage these inno- vations and new areas of research while at the same time improving our theoretical foundations. Restorative justice is an exciting new concept, with a growing body of evidence that suggests it can have a positive impact on criminal justice thinking and practice.

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In order to improve on this, we need to further refine how we think about and evaluate our practice. Shame Management Through Reintegration. Angel, Caroline Thesis, University of Pennsylvania. Barnes, Geoffrey Thesis, University of Maryland.