Retributive and restorative justice

Law Hum Behav. 2008 Oct;32(5):375-89. doi: 10.1007/s10979-007-9116-6. Epub 2007 Oct 24.


The emergence of restorative justice as an alternative model to Western, court-based criminal justice may have important implications for the psychology of justice. It is proposed that two different notions of justice affect responses to rule-breaking: restorative and retributive justice. Retributive justice essentially refers to the repair of justice through unilateral imposition of punishment, whereas restorative justice means the repair of justice through reaffirming a shared value-consensus in a bilateral process. Among the symbolic implications of transgressions, concerns about status and power are primarily related to retributive justice and concerns about shared values are primarily related to restorative justice. At the core of these processes, however, lies the parties' construal of their identity relation, specifically whether or not respondents perceive to share an identity with the offender. The specific case of intergroup transgressions is discussed, as are implications for future research on restoring a sense of justice after rule-breaking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Compensation and Redress
  • Crime
  • Crime Victims
  • Criminal Law*
  • Humans
  • Social Identification
  • Social Justice*
  • Social Responsibility*