Restoring Community

The IIRP Presidential Paper Series highlights leading thinkers and new voices in the field of restorative practices, the science of relationships and community.

In this series, the IIRP looks forward to pushing the boundaries of this new social science. Papers explore innovative theory and applications in fields such as education, community health, social justice and organizational leadership, pointing to new directions for civil society advocates around the world.

Sexual assault, corporate crime and restorative practices

John Braithwaite, Ph.D.

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Abstract: Recognizing that punitive approaches to inappropriate behavior were ineffective in producing desired change, schools employed restorative practices to learn with students how to recognize harmful actions, deal with conflicts effectively and change behavior. Historically, societal responses to criminal behavior also intended to educate and change behavior, but have had limited success in this outcome, often ending only in warehousing offenders. But I argue that learning remains a viable, if unrealized response, that I illustrate in the areas of corporate crime and sexual and gender-based crime. Punitive criminal law certainly has a place in addressing crimes of this kind, but restorative justice responses offer an opportunity to learn with offenders how to change behavior for the future so as to prevent these crimes. Innovative research and development can show us how to integrate punitive criminal law with restorative justice and other completely new justice strategies.

A science of human dignity: Belonging, voice and agency as universal human needs

IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D.

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Abstract: The desire to be treated with dignity is common to all human relationships. This desire manifests as the need to belong, to have voice, and to exercise agency in one’s own affairs. In its concern for these three areas of human need, restorative practices scholarship is beginning to provide a frame for the concept of human dignity that is communicable across cultures and disciplines via the language of the social sciences and testable through experimentation and research.