Why Are We So Punitive?

Today’s post is a report released late last month entitled, Why is America So Punitive?, from the Deliberations of the Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Punitiveness in America held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on April 2-3, 2015 and 2 other related articles. Last is a report on restorative justice from The Smith Institute, “an independent think tank that has been set up to look at issues which flow from the changing relationship between social values and economic imperatives”.

Why is America So Punitive?
A Report on the Deliberations of the Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Punitiveness in America
Held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
April 2-3, 2015
Authors: Bettina Muenster and Jennifer Trone
March 2016, 38 pages

Article on the report from The Crime Report


Is the Justice System Overly Punitive?
Reconciliation has not been given enough attention, psychological research suggests
Oriel FeldmanHall, Peter Sokol-Hessner on December 9, 2014

“Although they are less frequently employed, reconciliatory non-punitive approaches towards restoring justice have proven to function well in the real world. Perhaps most surprisingly, these approaches can be successful for even the most egregious crimes against humanity. A national effort currently being undertaken in Rwanda is bringing together Hutus and Tutsis in order to reconcile one of the most horrific genocides in history. After being counseled over many months, a Hutu perpetrator asks for forgiveness from a Tutsi survivor of his crime. Wielding an impressive ability to forgive—even for murder—the Tutsi survivors become reconciled with their Hutu perpetrators. With an aim to heal ties between neighbors, this initiative stresses restoration and forgiveness, not punishment. In doing so, it has the potential to curb the hate and violence that fuels a cycle of revenge and retribution.”


restorative justice: the evidence
By Lawrence W Sherman and Heather Strang
The Smith Institute
2007, 96 pages


There are so many things that we can do to improve the quality of justice in Hawai`i nei. Alternatives to incarceration has been in statute since the 80’s and we have done little to implement any other than specialty courts. Alternatives should be OUTSIDE THE SYSTEM, imho!

When faced with overcrowding, the state always thinks about building facilities or exporting people instead of tackling the situation head-on…really reforming sentencing and policy that drive mass incarceration.



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