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Artikel

Wraak, recht en slachtofferbehoeften

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Herstelrecht, Aflevering 3 2012
Trefwoorden revenge, retributive emotions, victim impact statements, victim needs, penal populism
Auteurs Bas van Stokkom
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Considerable political pressure is currently being brought to impose severe punishments, and it is frequently suggested that these punishments would enhance the wellbeing of victims and achieve ‘closure’. Populist images, such as ‘victims have a right to revenge’ have gained great influence. To what extent would therapeutic professionals have to support victim needs that are shaped within such punitive contexts? In this paper it is first argued that revenge embraces ambivalent meanings. Although avengers are lauded in the popular imagination, feelings of revenge are still viewed as ethically unacceptable. In recent decades, however, a penal populism has been gaining ground as a result of which revenge was stripped of its pejorative associations. In a punitive climate it is believed that victims would demand harsher penalties and that such penalties would promote closure and peace. Research findings show however that revenge may bring temporary relief, but anger rumination precludes healing. Subsequently the question is discussed whether two different forms of victim participation, victim impact statements and restorative justice conferences, might temper revenge feelings. Because VIS-participants (dealing with high levels of anger and fear) believe that their statements will culminate in longer sentences, they are generally frustrated that the imposed sentence is not tough enough. After the procedure they keep on viewing the offender as a malign person. Restorative procedures generally show an opposite picture. Finally this paper is criticizing the tendency of victim-oriented therapeutization within criminal justice and restorative justice. It is argued that the voice of the victim and the process of emotional healing should be separated strictly.


Bas van Stokkom
Bas van Stokkom is verbonden aan de afdeling bestuurswetenschappen van de faculteit der sociale wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam. Daarnaast is hij verbonden aan het Criminologisch Instituut (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen). Hij verricht onderzoek op het grensvlak van ethiek, criminologie en de sociale wetenschappen. Tot de thema’s die in zijn onderzoek aan bod komen behoren politie, burgerschap en lokale veiligheidszorg, sanctietheorieën en herstelrecht. www.basvanstokkom.nl.
Artikel

Herstelrecht en het streven naar een betere democratie

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Herstelrecht, Aflevering 1 2011
Trefwoorden Restorative justice, ethics, democracy, responsibility
Auteurs Lode Walgrave
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Restorative justice focuses on doing justice after the occurrence of an offence. It gives priority to deliberative encounters as the best way of achieving restoration. The ambition of the maximalist option of restorative justice is to modify the punitive apriorism in criminal justice into a restorative apriorism. One of the challenges is to unravel the socio-ethical and political intuitions that orient the option for restorative justice. Restorative justice is first of all an option based on socio-ethical considerations: aiming at restoration instead of accepting the punitive premise, and giving full space for deliberation processes among stakeholders instead of imposing a top down decision procedure. These social ethical grounds of restorative justice have a potential contribution to improving the quality of our democracies.


Lode Walgrave
Lode Walgrave is emeritus hoogleraar jeugdcriminologie aan de faculteit rechtsgeleerdheid van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

    In this article the author summarizes the main arguments for and notions of a maximalist conception of restorative justice, as developed in his latest book: Restorative Justice, Self-interest and Responsible Citizenship.While using a rather limited, goal-oriented definition of RJ as ‘an option for doing justice after the occurrence of an offence that is primarily oriented towards repairing the individual, relational and social harm caused by that offence’, Walgrave aims at developing a full blown alternative for penal justice. In the restorative system it should also be possible to impose sanctions, when deliberative processes of mediation and conferencing are not feasible, although the latter have, of course, the greatest chance of achieving restoration.The sanctions of restorative justice are not punishments, because any intention to impose suffering is lacking at the side of the sentencing authorities. But RJ can be seen as a form of inverted retributivism, in the sense that the offender pays his dues back to the victim and the society, to a degree that has to be acceptable to all involved, and seeking a fair amount of proportionality that does not impose unrealistic or unfair obligations. Principles of due process of law should be adapted to fit the restorative process. The high degree of participation in restorative justice serves democracy and so should criminology, by studying the ways in which social capital can be increased.The concept of ‘common self-interest’ is explained as the fundamental understanding that self-interests are best served by serving the common self-interest in as far as that provides full possibilities of deployment to everyone.


Lode Walgrave
Lode Walgrave is emeritus hoogleraar (jeugd)criminologie van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven en redactielid van dit tijdschrift.
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