Do retributive and restorative justice processes address different symbolic concerns?

Michael Wenzel, Tyler Okimoto, Kate Cameron

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    In support of a unitary conceptualization of retributive justice (justice through the imposition of punishment) and restorative justice (justice through dialogue aimed at consensus), three studies using hypothetical and recalled experiences of victimization found that people's endorsement of, and satisfaction with, either justice notion depends on the symbolic meaning of the transgression. In Study 1, perceiving the transgression as a status/power violation was uniquely related to the endorsement of retributive justice, whereas perceiving it as a violation of shared values was uniquely related to restorative justice. In Study 2, motivation to restore status/power was related to retributive responses, whereas motivation to restore value consensus with the offender was uniquely related to restorative responses. In Study 3, a scenario experiment, respondents called for greater additional sanction when the applied justice process (retributive vs. restorative) did not fit the salient meaning of the transgressions compared to when it did (status/power vs. values).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-44
    Number of pages20
    JournalCritical Criminology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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