Restorative Justice vs. Capital Punishment (r2)

    ‘Restorative justice’ isn’t only about fixing the flaws and making up for the imperfections in existing legal institutions; it’s about putting the repair of victims, offender, and the communities of which they are a part at the center of justice (pg 51).

The definition of restorative justice is a system of criminal justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large. Spelman sees it as repairing the offenders by bringing the victims and communities into the justice system. Restorative justice is one end of justice, and the other end is Capital punishment. The death penalty has been a big debate in the United States. Thirty states still have the death penalty, and twenty have abolished it. On August 2, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court decided that the state’s capital sentencing procedures were unconstitutional. This is a fresh issue in the United States. The capital punishment decides to put someone guilty to death, which is completely against what restorative justice stands for. Instead of rehabilitating a prisoner, they are not given a chance to change. But could capital punishment be a part of restorative justice?

The restorative justice approach not only hopes to bring attention to the multiple locations of the wound inflicted by a criminal act; it aims to involve all those affected by the act in the work necessary to carry out the appropriate repairs (pg 59).

Repairing the victim is a part of restorative justice. If the capital punishment of the offender helps the victim repair themselves, is it worth it for the justice system to take away the rehabilitation of the offender? I believe that justice should have the victim in their best interest, even if it doesn’t always work that way. States that have abolished the capital punishment see it as unconstitutional, but it could be unconstitutional to take a victims way of repair away.

Rips should be mended in such a way to suggest that they never were there in the first place. But in the eyes of some of the critics of restorative justice, democracy is not about efficiency, harmony, and homogeneity and should not tolerate attempts to cover over the history of conflict (pg 76).

Democracies should have their citizens in their best interest because it is a system of government by the whole population. Capital punishment can be seen as covering up a crime, and doesn’t bring the population any conflict resolution in history. The capital punishment may only bring resolution to the victim. The victim should have more rights in this situation, but the offender is still a citizen in this democracy. As more states abolish capital punishment, restorative justice is growing stronger. Restorative justice could become the only justice left.


Throughout history women have never had the manual jobs because they have always been left for the men. The manual jobs have always been seen as the most important because they deal with survival. Spelman explains that a woman’s job goes further than taking care of children and households. The women tend to the emotional parts of life. Spelman says, “It is by default the institution for aiding and abetting the natural bodily processes of repair; for mending spirits frayed or broken by the wear and tear of life, by the damaging effects of its pleasures as well as its pains; and for providing informal lessons and the the reparable and the irreparable (pg 50).” Women’s job in repairing emotional damage is seen as more important than a man’s manual job here. I admire how she can make history of women seem important, because in history it never has. As women gain more power in the workplace now, it brings fear to men because they are replacing jobs.
“Some commentators have expressed worries that ways women are said to care for others may reflect and strengthen their political and economic subordination to men or obscure patterns of such subordination among women (for example, between female employers and the domestic workers they “care for”). Our interest here, however, is whether the kind of caring activity highlighted in these examinations—whoever engages in it—provides a window onto some of the work of Homo reparans (pg 46).”
The way woman care for people makes them strong business women in the eyes of Spelman. They can put more heart into their job. In other opinions more heart in business is bad, because business is seen as having no heart. Having personal connection in business can make simple business decisions hard and bigger decisions even harder. I agree that emotional connections can make business harder, but I agree with Spelman that personal connections can make a business stronger.
“None of this, of course, means that all men are brought up to unreservedly embrace a masculinity defined in terms if skilled manual labor. It is not unusual for middle class male white-collar professionals to think of the repair of cars or houses as perhaps something they should be able to do on the weekends but yet not choose as a career (pg 29).”
Women and men both struggle in their place of the subject repair. As women struggle to find their place in workplaces, men in the white collar position struggle to find their masculinity. Throughout history men have had the manual jobs, making their repairs manual, but men in the workplace now are not using the manual tools anymore. The history of masculinity makes it hard for men now to feel masculine if they aren’t repairing cars or households. Spelman goes through both the struggles of men and women as the gender roles of repair change throughout history.