Date of Award

12-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Daniel Capper

Committee Chair Department

Philosophy and Religion

Committee Member 2

Philip Carlan

Committee Member 2 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 3

Lisa Nored

Committee Member 3 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 4

Michael Braswell

Abstract

As time progresses, criminologists continue to search for philosophies and policies which possess the ability to reduce criminal behavior. One such philosophy and policy may be restorative justice. This study explores the meaning of restorative justice as well as types of restorative justice processes including peacemaking circles, group conferencing, reparative boards, victim offender mediation/reconciliation programs, victim offender panels, social justice initiatives, and community justice. This study also provides a tentative definition/theory of restorative justice which suggests crime creates broken relationships; therefore, reparation, inclusion, acceptance of responsibility, remorse, apology, forgiveness, resolution, reintegration, reconciliation, and restoration are necessary components of justice.

Logistic regression is utilized to determine prediction ability of the demographic variables gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and education level for respondents’ perceptions of whether crime creates broken relationships, whether offenders, victims, and community members should have the ability to repair the harm created by a criminal action and whether offenders, victims, and community members should have the ability to be included in formulating a just response for a previous criminal action.

The sample consists of students enrolled in criminal justice courses in the spring 2012 semester at The University of Southern Mississippi and Georgia College and State University. Findings suggest the overall model of demographic variables including gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and education level may significantly predict respondents’ perceptions of whether community members should have the ability to repair the harm created by a criminal action (community reparation) as well as perceptions of whether victims and community members should have the ability to be included in formulating a just response for a previous criminal action (victim and community inclusion). The findings also suggest gender and ethnicity may predict respondents’ perceptions of whether community members should have the ability to repair the harm created by a criminal action (community reparation) while ethnicity may also predict respondents’ perceptions of community inclusion.

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