A new study outlines a restorative justice strategy based on “public redemption” that the authors claim produces lower recidivism rates than traditional criminal justice punishment strategies.
Public redemption, the study claims, produces an avenue for offenders to tell the truth and be accountable for bad deeds with an outcome that’s beneficial to all parties in the community.
The University of Pennsylvania Law School wrote the research paper, “The Opposite of Punishment: Imagining a Path to Public Redemption.”
“Our criminal justice history has been almost exclusively based upon advertising the negative example of conviction and punishment as the means by which we condemn prohibited conduct,” the research concludes. “Perhaps it is worth at least experimenting with a system of positive examples to promote these same important goals.”
The paper “explores how and why such a system of public redemption might be constructed, the benefits it might provide to offenders, victims and society, and the political complications that creation of such a system might encounter.”
The research takes into account the power of confessions and apologies, making amends, deserved punishment, future criminality and exceptional cases. It also considers that “there will be political objections to such a system from both the anti-punishment school and the law-and-order school, making legislative creation of such a program complicated.”
The researchers suggest that the policy could begin with governors using their clemency and pardon power toward offenders who go through the redemption process.