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Justice as Sanctuary Justice as Sanctuary

by Bianchi, Herman

Many in the criminal justice system agree that the present punitive system of crime control is ineffective, unjust, and malevolent. Yet, there is little enthusiasm for talk about reforming the system or for a reexamination of its fundamental premises. The author, a noted Dutch criminologist and former Dean of the Law School of the Free University of Amsterdam, details a new approach to crime control, one that promises to reanimate debate and initiate real change. In this book, he explores the cultural and religious roots of the current punitive system in search of new perspectives that can help create a more just and effective one.

In the ancient Hebrew notion of tsedeka ("justice" or "righteousness"), the author finds the inspiration for a new model of crime control based on conflict resolution rather than punishment. Because so many feel alienated from the criminal justice system, he argues for new procedures that will enable people to experience law as supportive of their lives and their social interactions. To complement the current punitive system, Bianchi proposes a system that provides victims and offenders a chance to resolve their conflicts and offers them the opportunity to reach non-punitive systems. By incorporating the concept of liability, the author's model returns to offenders the responsibility for their acts while providing an active legal role for the victims of crime. It adapts structures and models from civil and labor law for conflict resolution of nonviolent crimes, and in the case of violent crimes, and in the case of violent crimes, proposes the creation of special "sanctuaries" that would protect the public while making it possible to effect true justice. Startling in its implications, Bianchi's system is not a utopian dream, but a carefully considered set of proposals that could be acted upon today.

Paperback, 218 pages, Notes, bibliography, index, part of a Restorative Justice series.

USD 24.95 / CAD 29.95

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