Imagining a Greater Justice: Criminal Violence, Punishment, and Relational Healing
Criminal violence harms persons and relationships in ways that law cannot touch. In Imagining a Greater Justice, Pillsbury posits that we need a justice that is commensurate with the harm and wrong done, and one that comprehends how violence shatters survivors' sense of trust and place in community. The author asks: Can we imagine a justice that respects an offender`s humanity? Can we imagine a justice that treats someone who has spent half of his life locked up for serious crime as a human being capable of change? Can we imagine a justice that acknowledges the racial violence of the past and the racial misunderstandings that undercut the trust needed for effective law enforcement? Can we imagine a justice concerned with healing the community after violence? Pillsbury contends that real change is possible. With violent crime rates at relatively low levels in most U.S. jurisdictions. and new perspectives on criminal justice receiving a respectful hearing in many localities and states, this is a promising time for criminal justice reform in the United States. Acknowledging that public fear and anger about criminal violence drive the punitive impulse that created the mass incarceration of today, the book challenges many deep-rooted assumptions about wrongdoing, as well as ideas about freedom and individuality and the obligations owed to strangers. The chapters follow a journey from listening to victim's experiences of wrongful violence to the work of redeeming the hurt as well as those who do the hurting. Early chapters examine the harms of criminal violence, set out the basic moral and legal responsibility of wrongdoers, and analyze common mistakes made in judging the wrongs of others. Then the book goes on to reflect on proper sentencing determinations, examine historical evidence of penal punitiveness, and consider the realities of incarceration, focusing especially on solitary confinement and sexual violence. The book then shifts to look at the victim rights movement, what victims of violent wrongs need, the redemption of violent offenders, problems with race in criminal justice; and, ultimately, how individuals might live out the ideals of a greater justice. Imagining a Greater Justice offers a well-informed look at violence, race, and restorative justice, including often-ignored moral and ethical issues. It posits important policy implications that are essential reading for students of law and criminal justice, as well as all persons affected by violent crime and the administration of justice.