Document Type


Date of Award



Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs (SOPA)

Degree Name

MS in Administration of Justice

First Advisor

Professor Ihekwoaba D. Onwudiwe


The criminal justice system does not currently emphasize the role of forgiveness m the application of justice. Criminal justice procedures and practices have been dominated by the punitive preference of the state, whose interest is traditionally hinged on deterrence, incapacitation, and retributive justice. This thesis will scrutinize the literature of restorative justice and apply the principles of restorative justice to Quinney's (1993) compassionate criminology, which encourages personal and social transformation. Additionally, using secondary cum content analyses of existing criminal justice cases (i.e., case law); this study will utilize qualitative methods by exploring the linkages between the idea of restorative justice aspects of psychodynamic theories of behavior and forgiveness. The study will also examine the role that forgiveness plays in the emotional and social well-being of both individuals and communities that are victimized by crime. By incorporating restorative justice processes in the criminal justice system, a psychotherapeutic pathway is created at the individual level, which has the potential for 1 2 the offender to repent of his action, the victim to forgive, and the community to eventually reintegrate. While there may be potential problems with restorative justice philosophy, such as a victim's propensity for fakery, this model of forgiveness offers a humane alternative or an approach to state-dominated criminal procedures.