Friday, November 7, 2014

Restorative Justice and Psychopaths

In our Philosophy classes, we often discuss the difference between retributive and distributive justice.  Yet in those concepts is implied another aspect of justice that is often overlooked: restorative justice.

"There is a long tradition of associating justice with punishment and, of course, punishment with violence. When there is an offender and a victim, traditional justice ignores the needs created by the crime for the victim and the victim's community. Instead, all of the attention is paid to how punishing the offender might restore justice in the abstract--removed from the actual wounds that need healing--as though the state were the victim. But when we shift our thinking and look at the actual needs that result from the crime (restoring trust, security, truth-telling, and more), we can focus on what we should: on restoring victims, communities, and even offenders." --Dr. Craig Hovey

In the following Ted Talk, Daniel Reisel takes up this issue and studies the brains of criminal psychopaths (and mice). He asks a big question: Instead of warehousing these criminals, shouldn't we be using what we know about the brain to help them rehabilitate? Put another way: If the brain can grow new neural pathways after an injury ... could we help the brain re-grow morality?

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