Sylvia Clute

What if law and justice fostered transformation?
       How can we get there?

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I invite you to join the journey from punitive to unitive justice.


When I entered law school, I was told that I would be learning about the best legal system possible. I later learned that there are actually two models of justice, one based on proportional revenge and one based on lovingkindness. I  had only been taught about the retributive, punitive model.

 

Because both systems are described using one term, "justice," there can be confusion around justice and injustice. This confusion can be used to intentionally deceive what is intended.


Being able to distinguish between punitive and unitive justice clears up a lot of the confusion. When we understand this distinction, our world of greed, violence and war in the midst of breathtaking acts of love, kindness and generosity makes perfect sense.  When we analyze the two systems, we discover that punitive justice reflects a dualistic way of thinking that makes the "us versus them" dichotomy seem reasonable. Unitive justice recognizes the interconnectedness of all that is - that what we do to others, we do to ourselves. 

 

Sorting this out is not difficult. Moving from one system to the other is possible. It won't happen overnight because we are entangled in duality on many levels. The good news is that the organizing principle of Oneness lies at the root of all that is. When we lose our way, immersed in the disorganizing process of duality, we can return to the organizing principle of love by choosing to do so. 

 

If this is a new concept, you may rest assured that it is a movement that is worldwide and it is growing. Our future and the future of generations to come depend on its success.


Sylvia





Armstrong High School students talking about restorative justice         (the unitive justice model). They learned to facilitate circles in the classes that I taught.