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Restorative Justice

In contrast to the punishment approach or the “punish harsh in order to deter” approach, a relatively recent approach to crime prevention considers that the company, as the victim of fraud or corruption, for example, ought to have a say in how the offender should be treated. In this perspective, the management of a company utilizes the relatively new restorative justice (RJ) approach to achieve prevention.3 Unlike the approach in a criminal trial, RJ focuses “on losses, repairs the damage inflicted, seeks satisfied parties and views the victim as the central person of the whole process” (Weitekamp 2002, 323). A defining feature of RJ is the offender’s sincere apology to the victim in the presence ofimportant others for the wrong he/she has done. The public apology ritual is in effect a shaming, humiliating experience. Also, part of the RJ concept is that the victim, with the assistance of a facilitator4 acceptable to both the offender and the victim, specifically demands certain ways in which the offender will make amends and will in turn be reintegrated back into the company or the local community, for example. Thus, RJ uses reintegrative shaming to condemn a certain behavior and to support offenders, instead of punishing them (see Braithwaite [1989], 2009). By utilizing RJ, a company invests in and strengthens a desired company culture and reinforces a certain ethical behavior, factors that are crucial to the constant effort to prevent fraud and corruption. Of course, RJ may not be feasible in very serious cases of fraud and corruption.

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