Giustizia riparativa e il sistema penale(Ing. & Fr.)


Restorative justice and its innovative potential in the judicial system. – “If the word ‘reformist’ is not used as a definition for the restorative movement, an abundant scientific production generated by experts and practitioners agrees to qualify it as a real new approach of criminal justice.[
] The characteristics of the judicial system would be therefore stigmatization and exclusion (given the importance of prison in the system of penalties) of an individual convicted of violation of the moral code of a society; consequently any one found guilty will be inflicted a pain (deprivation, coercion) proportionate to the gravity and the awareness of the act committed in order to deter and reform the offender and to protect the society. Restorative justice will assume an innovative function compared to the current penal system if it reaches the transformation of these characteristics.” 

Restorative justice has been set up as a new paradigm at the end of the 1990’s by Howard Zehr in a book with the evocative tittle of: Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice. Zehr singles out the innovative model through a new set of principles against those of the punitive model. Other authors, as Walgrave (1994), also wished to dissociate restorative justice from the rehabilitative and therapeutic model. The prejudicial effect for restorative justice was to be included with reformist movements of the penal system. According to Braithwaite (1998), restorative justice constitutes par excellence the progressive reform movement of the 1990’s, its ability extends beyond the transformation of the sole criminal justice system but of the entire legal system (Braithwaite, 2003). Watchel (1997) unhesitatingly calls restorative justice a ‘revolution’ of reaction modes on crime. If the word ‘reformist’ is not used as a definition for the restorative movement, an abundant scientific production generated by experts and practitioners agrees to qualify it as a real new approach of criminal justice. Despite the absence of consensus on the nature of the transformation wanted by the restorative justice movement (Johnstone, Van Ness, 2006), innovative capacities of the restorative model are examined on rare occasions. It is therefore necessary to describe and establish the main ramifications of the restorative movement to be in a position to look into its innovative nature in the ‘social penal field’.

The characteristics of the judicial system would be therefore stigmatization and exclusion (given the importance of prison in the system of penalties) of an individual convicted of violation of the moral code of a society; consequently any one found guilty will be inflicted a pain (deprivation, coercion) proportionate to the gravity and the awareness of the act committed in order to deter and reform the offender and to protect the society. Restorative justice will assume an innovative function compared to the current penal system if it reaches the transformation of these characteristics. A partial transformation of the characteristics of the penal system could be sufficient to demonstrate the innovative nature of restorative justice. However, the transformations must focus on fundamental and pivotal characteristics of the penal system such as: the purposes (the sentence), procedures (adversarial), the effects (stigmatization) and the premisses (notably the opposition between criminal and law-abiding citizen and the conception of crime focused on the idea of transgression of the moral code of the society). To which extent can these characteristics potentially be transformed by restorative justice? Restorative justice conceptual sources are informative, the designation ‘restorative justice’ took root in the light of the therapeutic model reform and not, as often outlined, as an exclusive punitive model contestation. Other factors, internal or external to the penal system, have resulted in the emergence of restorative justice participating in its diversification and fragmentation. Some theorists and practitioners of restorative justice, while recognizing the importance of the concept of crime deconstruction, do not assume the implications of the legal definition of crime in this transformation process. They rather define crime as a breakdown of social bonds or as a conflict. To transpose crime into a breakdown of social bonds domain raises some issues. What is a social bond? Exactly of which social bond is it about? Is it about the social contract binding the citizens to the State or the community? This definition of crime proceeds more through transfer than through deconstruction, and crime keeps its transgressive nature; it is being transferred from a legal to a social concept (the breakdown of social bonds are constituting the social transgression).

The model focused on the ultimate purposes most respects principles established by the founders of the restorative movement. Restorative justice objective is the reparation of the consequences of the crime and has a reformist role within or outside the penal system. According to Walgrave, the penal system transformation can only occur if 1) the punitive objectives of the system are replaces with restorative objectives and 2) serious crimes do not escape the restorative system. Imposition of restorative penalties constitutes the way in a radical reform of the penal system; it enables the avoidance of reducing restorative justice to negotiated processes requiring volunteering participation of both parties, more likely to be obtained in case of less serious crimes. Absence of constraint is thus not an evidence of transformation of criminal law, it is easily identified through the shift of a punitive philosophy towards a restorative philosophy. This perspective remain however controversial and Daly (2000) refutes the distinction between sentence and constraint which lead to reject the idea of a fundamental break between punitive and restatorative perspective.

Restorative justice takes a forward looking perspective, one that involves a participatory process among those involved in the offence, often including the community. Putting things right is of prime importance (Marshall 1999; Van Ness & Strong, 2006). Based on this logic, we refer to restorative justice processes as victim-offender mediation. Though family group conferencing is also a common procedure fitting this definition, the local context of the countries included in the project tend not to focus on such procedures. Furthermore, we are interested in other procedures that may be considered to be fully or mostly restorative (McCold & Wachtel, 2003). Indeed, before generalising certain models as the ‘prototypical’ restorative justice practices, it is vital to acknowledge that in some countries other models prevail. Particularly when examining accessibility, the scope of restorative justice should not be limited to victim-offender mediation and family group conferencing. Access to these procedures may be limited because other procedures are more often used. For example, we must ask, when procedures allow for both victim and offender to be present, but do not require it, what must be considered in terms of accessibility. For this reason, we choose to include a third model, reparation panels, which though offender oriented, do in theory provide for restorative aspects for the victim. Therefore, the primary focus will be on victim-offender mediation, but there will also be a secondary focus on other restorative practices (i.e., conferencing and reparation panels), as these form the prevailing model in Ireland.

However, it should briefly be repeated that there are many other forms of restorative justice. Family-group conferencing, with its roots in child welfare and youth justice in New Zealand, was designed to help families of the victims and offenders work together to find necessary solutions (Raye & Roberts, 2007; Van Ness & Strong, 2006). The goals and much of the methods are comparable to victim-offender mediation practices, with the additional element of dialogue among family members and offer support persons . By including families, particularly that of the offender, the offender is helped to move past inappropriate behaviour and discard the offender label (Braithwaite, 1989). Sentencing or peacemaking circles, whose roots are argued to be in the tradition of North American aboriginal populations, aim to include family and other community members in the decision making process (Raye & Roberts, 2007; Van Ness & Strong, 2006). Communication is managed through a ‘talking stick,’ allowing participants to express themselves for an unlimited amount of time. In cases where there is no victim willing to participate, there may be an opportunity for a surrogate procedure to allow for others to play the role of the victim. Offenders then are still faced with consequences of an offence and victims have the opportunity to express themselves. Reparation panels hold the offender accountable and support reintegration and reparation. They generally consist of representatives of criminal justice agencies and the local community, meeting face-to-face with the offender to discuss his or her wrongdoing. It is possible that, in some cases, the victim attends these panels. Other practices include video-letters, victim-support circles, restitution and victim awareness programmes, though these methods are considered to sometimes be only ‘partly’ or ‘mostly’ restorative (McCold & Wachtel, 2002). An accepted typology is that of Gavrielides (2007) which distinguishes between independent, relatively dependent and dependent systems. In independent systems, the main goal is to meet the needs of the participants and the outcome has no repercussions on the legal disposition. Self-referrals are common in these systems. The agreement of the restorative procedure in ‘relatively dependent’ systems may have an effect on the criminal procedure, but does not necessarily replace the sentence. Referrals are mostly done by the courts, parties and attorneys. Dependent systems find restorative procedures as alternatives to the criminal procedure. The former is a diversionary measure that allows the criminal case to be dismissed when a successful agreement is reached. Cases are mostly referred by the police, prosecutors, parties and attorneys.

The rise of restorative justice practices worldwide clearly calls for more attention to the issues surrounding accessibility and initiation. The rapid growth in Europe can be illustrated by the upsurge in restorative justice programmes. There still remains a need for greater referrals and understanding of the initiation phase of the procedure. The current report will generally focus on victim-offender mediation and examine in which ways accessibility and initiation may improve. Factors related to accessibility include those that impede or assist parties in getting to a restorative procedure (i.e. those that can increase or prevent referrals). Factors related to initiation include those that stimulate or discourage beginning a restorative procedure by the parties, and are related to the moment a victim or offender is invited or informed about restorative justice. MylĂšne Jaccoud Professeure Ă  l’École de criminologie, Responsable de l’unitĂ© de recherche «RĂ©solution des conflits, justice rĂ©paratrice et Autochtones»  au Centre international de criminologie comparĂ©e (CICC). UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al  / translated by myself


La justice rĂ©paratrice est Ă©rigĂ©e en paradigme au tournant des annĂ©es 1990 par Howard Zehr, dans un livre au titre Ă©vocateur : Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice. Zehr y singularise le modĂšle rĂ©parateur par une sĂ©rie de principes qu’il oppose Ă  ceux du modĂšle punitif. D’autres auteurs, notamment Walgrave (1994), ont Ă©galement tenu Ă  dissocier la justice rĂ©paratrice du modĂšle rĂ©habilitatif ou thĂ©rapeutique. L’envers de la mĂ©daille frappĂ©e au sceau de la justice rĂ©paratrice a eu pour effet d’ériger la justice rĂ©paratrice dans le giron des mouvements rĂ©formistes du systĂšme pĂ©nal. Selon Braithwaite (1998), la justice rĂ©paratrice constitue le mouvement de rĂ©forme par excellence des annĂ©es 1990, sa capacitĂ© ne se rĂ©duisant pas Ă  celle de transformer le systĂšme de justice criminelle, mais l’ensemble du systĂšme lĂ©gal (Braithwaite, 2003). Watchel (1997) n’hĂ©site pas Ă  qualifier la justice rĂ©paratrice de «rĂ©volution» des modes de rĂ©actions au crime. Quand le vocable rĂ©formiste n’est pas accolĂ© au mouvement rĂ©parateur, c’est celui d’une vĂ©ritable alternative au modĂšle punitif que l’on trouve de maniĂšre rĂ©currente dans l’abondante production scientifique gĂ©nĂ©rĂ©e par des experts et praticiens de plus en plus sĂ©duits par cette «nouvelle» approche en justice pĂ©nale. En dĂ©pit de l’absence de consensus entourant la nature de la transformation recherchĂ©e par le mouvement de la justice rĂ©paratrice (Johnstone, Van Ness, 2006), les capacitĂ©s innovantes du modĂšle rĂ©parateur sont peu interrogĂ©es. Il est donc nĂ©cessaire de retracer et qualifier les principales ramifications du mouvement rĂ©parateur afin d’ĂȘtre mieux en mesure d’en interroger le caractĂšre innovant dans le champ sociopĂ©nal.

Les caractĂ©ristiques du systĂšme pĂ©nal seraient donc la stigmatisation et l’exclusion (en accordant un poids important Ă  la prison dans l’arsenal des sanctions) d’un individu reconnu coupable d’un acte portant atteinte au code moral d’une sociĂ©tĂ© auquel une souffrance (privation, contraintes) proportionnelle Ă  la gravitĂ© de l’acte et Ă  la responsabilitĂ© de l’auteur doit ĂȘtre infligĂ©e pour punir, dissuader et corriger celui-ci et pour protĂ©ger la sociĂ©tĂ©. La justice rĂ©paratrice n’assumera une fonction innovante par rapport au systĂšme pĂ©nal que si elle parvient Ă  transformer ces caractĂ©ristiques. Notre posture initiale est la suivante : une transformation partielle des caractĂ©ristiques du systĂšme pĂ©nal est suffisante pour conclure au caractĂšre innovant de la justice rĂ©paratrice. Par contre, les changements doivent porter sur des caractĂ©ristiques relativement fondamentales et centrales du systĂšme pĂ©nal telles que : ses finalitĂ©s (la peine), ses procĂ©dures (contradictoires), ses effets (stigmatisation) et ses prĂ©misses (notamment l’opposition entre criminel et honnĂȘte citoyen et la conception du crime centrĂ©e sur l’idĂ©e de la transgression au code moral d’une sociĂ©tĂ©). Il convient maintenant de voir dans quelle mesure ces caractĂ©ristiques sont susceptibles d’ĂȘtre transformĂ©es par la justice rĂ©paratrice. Le terme «restorative justice» est proposĂ© en 1975 par Eglash pour distinguer la justice «distributive», centrĂ©e sur le traitement du dĂ©linquant, de la justice punitive, centrĂ©e sur la punition, et de celle d’une justice dont la finalitĂ© reposerait sur la restitution. Ce concept dĂ©coule de la notion de «creative restitution» qu’Eglash Ă©labore dans un texte publiĂ© en 1958 pour suggĂ©rer une refonte du modĂšle rĂ©habilitatif. ModelĂ©e sur les principes spirituels du programme des alcooliques anonymes, la restitution crĂ©ative se veut une «technique de rĂ©habilitation» par laquelle un dĂ©tenu «is helped to find some ways to make amends to those he has hurt by his offense, and to ‘walk a second mile’ by helping other offenders» (Eglash, 1958, p.20). Les sources conceptuelles de la justice rĂ©paratrice sont rarement mises au jour. Elles sont pourtant instructives, l’appellation «justice rĂ©paratrice» ayant pris corps dans une optique de rĂ©forme du modĂšle thĂ©rapeutique et non, comme il est trop souvent fait Ă©tat, dans celui d’une contestation exclusive du modĂšle punitif. Cette affiliation est d’autant plus Ă©difiante qu’il faut se demander si la justice rĂ©paratrice est parvenue Ă  se dĂ©partir des fonctions thĂ©rapeutiques et des fondements spirituels qui ont forgĂ© l’histoire de son concept. Ces repĂšres sont bien Ă©videmment insuffisants. D’autres facteurs, internes et externes au systĂšme pĂ©nal, ont favorisĂ© l’émergence de la justice rĂ©paratrice et ont participĂ© Ă  sa diversification et Ă  sa fragmentation. Certains thĂ©oriciens et praticiens de la justice rĂ©paratrice, tout en reconnaissant l’importance de dĂ©construire la notion de crime, n’endossent pas la perspective des consĂ©quences comme principe de transformation de la catĂ©gorie juridique du crime et prĂ©fĂšrent dĂ©finir le crime comme la rupture d’un lien social ou encore comme un conflit. Transposer le crime vers le registre d’une rupture d’un lien social pose divers problĂšmes. Cette sĂ©mantique renvoie Ă  une abstraction et Ă  une vision consensuelle des rapports sociaux. Qu’est-ce qu’un lien social ? De quel lien social parle-t-on ? Du contrat social qui lie les citoyens Ă  l’État ou Ă  la communauté ? Cette dĂ©finition du crime procĂšde davantage par transfert que par dĂ©construction. Le crime ne perd pas son caractĂšre transgressif ; il est transfĂ©rĂ© d’un registre juridique Ă  un registre social (la rupture du lien social Ă©tant ici constitutive de la transgression sociale).

Le modĂšle centrĂ© sur les finalitĂ©s est celui qui respecte le plus les principes Ă©laborĂ©s par les fondateurs du paradigme rĂ©parateur. L’objectif de la justice rĂ©paratrice est la rĂ©paration des consĂ©quences encourues par l’occurrence du crime, et ce, indĂ©pendamment des processus mis en Ɠuvre pour y parvenir. Il correspond Ă  la perspective maximaliste de la justice rĂ©paratrice telle que formulĂ©e par Walgrave (2003). Par maximaliste, Walgrave entend assigner Ă  la justice rĂ©paratrice une fonction rĂ©formiste maximale, c’est-Ă -dire autant Ă  l’intĂ©rieur qu’à l’extĂ©rieur du systĂšme pĂ©nal. Pour Walgrave, la transformation du systĂšme pĂ©nal ne peut se produire que 1) si les finalitĂ©s punitives de ce systĂšme sont remplacĂ©es par des finalitĂ©s rĂ©paratrices et 2) si les crimes graves n’échappent pas au systĂšme rĂ©parateur. La rĂ©tention des crimes graves dans le filet rĂ©parateur nĂ©cessite un degrĂ© de contrainte et de coercition faisant appel Ă  des processus non nĂ©gociĂ©s. L’imposition de sanctions rĂ©paratrices constitue, selon Walgrave, la porte d’entrĂ©e Ă  une rĂ©forme en profondeur du systĂšme pĂ©nal ; elle permet d’éviter de rĂ©duire la justice rĂ©paratrice Ă  des processus nĂ©gociĂ©s requĂ©rant la participation volontaire des parties, celle-ci ayant plus de chance d’ĂȘtre obtenue dans des situations de moindre gravitĂ©. L’absence de contrainte n’est donc pas l’indice d’une transformation du pĂ©nal, celle-ci Ă©tant davantage repĂ©rable par la mutation d’une philosophie punitive vers une philosophie rĂ©paratrice. Cette perspective reste controversĂ©e. Daly (2000) rĂ©fute par exemple la distinction entre peine et contrainte, ce qui l’amĂšne Ă  rejeter l’idĂ©e d’une rupture fondamentale entre perspective punitive et perspective rĂ©paratrice.

Comme nous le mentionnions, la valorisation de la participation citoyenne et victimaire Ă  l’offre de justice est le fruit d’une conjoncture complexe influencĂ©e autant par le lobby des victimes que par le virage managĂ©rial et communautaire de la gestion de l’ordre public. L’incorporation des citoyens et des victimes dans les processus dĂ©cisionnels et consultatifs (tant en amont qu’en aval du systĂšme pĂ©nal) est envisagĂ©e par certains comme une forme de justice rĂ©paratrice (voir par exemple Raye, Roberts, 2007). En plus du non sens crĂ©Ă© par la confusion entre justice nĂ©gociĂ©e et justice rĂ©paratrice, cette centration sur les processus n’est en rien indicative de quelque changement de perspective que ce soit. Le cercle de sentence, dĂ©crit comme l’exemple d’une pratique insĂ©rĂ©e dans le paradigme rĂ©parateur, en est l’illustration. Le cercle de sentence, utilisĂ© principalement en milieu autochtone, est un processus de consultation des parties concernĂ©es par le crime (auteur, victime et entourage respectif des parties liĂ©es par l’infraction) sur les solutions et les moyens que celles-ci jugent les plus adĂ©quates. Le consensus auquel parviennent les parties sur les meilleures façons de rĂ©agir Ă  l’évĂ©nement est ensuite transmis au juge, lequel dispose de la libertĂ© d’en tenir compte ou pas dans le jugement prononcĂ© (Jaccoud, 2006 ; 1999). Les jugements rĂ©sultants de la pratique des cercles de sentence n’excluent pas les sentences d’incarcĂ©ration. Les groupes consultatifs et les comitĂ©s de citoyen sont eux aussi envisagĂ©s comme des espaces d’institutionnalisation de la justice rĂ©paratrice. Or, les dispositions prĂ©vues dans la loi sur le systĂšme de justice pĂ©nale pour les adolescents au Canada dĂ©montrent bien qu’un groupe consultatif vise Ă  fournir des conseils au dĂ©cideur quant aux façons de rĂ©parer le prĂ©judice occasionnĂ© Ă  la victime, mais il n’exempte pas le dĂ©cideur d’assortir ces mesures de mesures punitives. D’ailleurs, les initiatives rĂ©paratrices sollicitant la participation citoyenne sont trĂšs souvent orientĂ©es vers les besoins des contrevenants dans lesquelles la perspective thĂ©rapeutique est omniprĂ©sente. La participation citoyenne et communautaire n’est en rien indicative de quelque changement paradigmatique que ce soit par rapport au modĂšle punitif. Elle participe plutĂŽt d’une tentative de reconstruire une lĂ©gitimitĂ© Ă©tatique de plus en plus fragilisĂ©e dans le champ sociopĂ©nal et celle de gĂ©rer l’ordre public dans une logique d’efficience et de rationalisation des dĂ©penses publiques.

La justice rĂ©paratrice est une innovation dont l’effet innovant sur le systĂšme pĂ©nal est variable. Cet effet dĂ©pend d’abord de la conception ou du modĂšle de justice rĂ©paratrice et ensuite de sa place et sa fonction par rapport au pĂ©nal. Cette rĂ©flexion nous invite Ă  distinguer deux modĂšles d’innovations : les innovations complĂ©mentaires et les innovations de substitution. L’innovation complĂ©mentaire peut procĂ©der par verticalitĂ© (l’initiative rĂ©paratrice s’ajoute Ă  la sanction pĂ©nale Ă  l’intĂ©rieur d’une mĂȘme filiĂšre) ou par horizontalitĂ© (l’initiative rĂ©paratrice agit en parallĂšle Ă  la filiĂšre pĂ©nale, Ă  titre de filiĂšre supplĂ©mentaire qui n’altĂšre en rien les activitĂ©s et les fonctionnalitĂ©s de la filiĂšre pĂ©nale). La complĂ©mentaritĂ© verticale consacre l’avĂšnement de la double contrainte (la sanction pĂ©nale et la rĂ©paration) alors que la complĂ©mentaritĂ© horizontale celui de l’élargissement du spectre des interventions. L’innovation de substitution est la seule qui gĂ©nĂšre un changement, ce changement pouvant en principe ĂȘtre total ou partiel mais qui, en pratique, s’avĂšre surtout partiel. Enfin, l’innovation complĂ©mentaire, tout comme l’innovation substitutive, peuvent se produire autant Ă  l’intĂ©rieur qu’à l’extĂ©rieur du systĂšme pĂ©nal.  MylĂšne Jaccoud Professeure Ă  l’École de criminologie, Responsable de l’unitĂ© de recherche «RĂ©solution des conflits, justice rĂ©paratrice et Autochtones»  au Centre international de criminologie comparĂ©e (CICC). UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al  


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