International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Neuroscience of Restorative Justice

In a recent TED Talk, Daniel Reisel discusses his experiences and insights about how we could change the way that we view justice, to bettea9fa3c528d831735be7bdfb31b806926r suit the way the brain works. While he focuses mainly on the criminal justice system, his support for restorative justice focuses in on an aspect that we have not discussed in class: the physiological benefits.  I am interested to hear your thoughts on the subject!


One response to “Neuroscience of Restorative Justice

  1. natreid7 April 28, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    In Daniel Reisel’s ted talk he focuses a lot on the concept of neurogenesis in the brain and how that in order for criminals to truly learn from what they have done, they have to interact with the victim directly, which leads to potential neurogenesis in the amygdala. The amygdala is the portion of the brain that deals with emotions. Daniel Reisel makes the argument that retributive justice will never teach criminals a lesson because without victim interaction, there will be no way for empathetic neurogenesis in the brain. As more and more research is done in neuroscience, the role of criminal justice systems will need to change. At the core of justice and deterrence theory is the concept of rationality. Justice assumes the rationality of perpetrators. However in the case of “normal” everyday individuals and psychopaths who commit mass atrocities are we really rational creatures or are we at the whim of our brain chemistry? Trying to explain the brain and its relation to human behavior can clash with how the legal system currently determines culpability, competency and the manner in which such cases should be handled. Our current understanding of the law and its relationship to the neurobiology of individuals will need to be explored. Recently more and more fMRI results are being used in the courtroom–your brain and its circuitry can and will be used against you–it’s a brave new world.

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