New Humanity Institute   


Proclaiming the Healing of Humanity in Jesus          



Home     Ministries     Resources     Blog     Contact     Donate

Photo credit:  Wollyvonwolleroy, Creative Commons Zero. 

NHI Resources on Criminal Justice and Conflict




Christian Restorative Justice: Introduction and Application to Mass Incarceration and the New Jim Crow (ppts) (video)

Talk given at Reality San Francisco Church in May 2016


Christian Restorative Justice: Introduction and Application to Mass Incarceration and the New Jim Crow (shorter version, ppts)

Christian Resources


Hagar's Sisters (website) about ending the cycle of domestic abuse


(Amazon book, 1996) An account of the role Calvinist theology played in producing a God of retributive justice - and retributive sentencing - wherever it went. A minority of Calvin scholars argue that Calvin's Institutes can be read as not supporting retributive justice. While I remain skeptical, the tradition is unambiguously retributive. See also Wayne Northey, Book Review of God's Just Vengeance (


Duncan B. Forrester, Christian Justice and Public Policy (Amazon book, Aug 1997) great chapter on criminal justice


(Amazon book, Nov 17, 1999)


Wayne Northey, Presentation on Spirituality of Penal Abolition

(ICOPA IX, May 2000) a paper on, contains a concise summary of Christian history


(Amazon book, Nov 29, 2000) how and why Protestant approaches to criminal justice are so retributive


(Amazon book, 2001) a must read on both theology and ethics


Walter Wink, The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man (Amazon book, Nov 1, 2001)


Paul Zehr, The Little Book of Restorative Justice (Amazon book, Dec 2002)


Chip Berlet, Calvinism, Capitalism, Conversion, and Incarceration (Political Research Associates, Nov 6, 2004)


Paul Zehr, Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice (Christian Peace Shelf) (Amazon book, Jan 2005)


Pierre Allard, Rediscovering Restorative Justice Within Christianity (True City Conference, 2005)


Rupert Ross, Returning To the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice (Amazon book, Feb 28, 2006)


Rob Moll, Rx for Recidivism (Christianity Today, Nov 21, 2006)


(Amazon book, 2008) A sobering account of how Western Christians developed the blood theory of race, taking biblical Israel as a "race" when in reality it was a multi-ethnic faith community; important for Christians to own


(Amazon book, 2008) A must read on both theology and ethics


Emmanuel Katongole & Chris Rice, Reconciling All Things (Amazon book, Nov 2008)


Ted Grimsrud, Biblical Bases for Restorative Justice (Peace Theology blog, Dec 1, 2008) a Mennonite professor


Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Prison Religion: Faith-Based Reform and the Constitution (Amazon book, 2009)


(Amazon book, 2010) A brilliant storytelling of key encounters between Western Christians and African and Native American people; important for Christians to own since colonialism and race (with natural science) went together


(Amazon book, 2010) and Youtube audiobook. Bestselling diagnosis of how constitutional protections and early Supreme Court precedents have evaporated because of the War on Drugs. See also Greg Thomas, Why Some People Like the New Jim Crow So Much (blog, Apr 26, 2012), for Malcolm X style criticism of Alexander's TNJC which is more expansive than her constitutional argument about procedural justice. While this is not an explicitly Christian book, two things make this worth categorizing in the Christian restorative justice category.  First, Alexander draws on the constitutional law, which has roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition mediated through English Christianity.  Second, Alexander herself went on a spiritual journey, personally and professionally, leaving her job at Ohio State and becoming a scholar at Union Theological Seminary, to study the role of faith and church in seeking justice. 


Stephen Pope, Restorative Justice as a Prophetic Path to Peace (CTSA Proceedings, 2010)


Emmanuel Katongole, The Sacrifice of Africa: A Political Theology for Africa (Amazon book, Dec 2010)


Rick Sarre and Janette Young, Christian Approaches to the Restorative Justice Movement: Observations on Scripture and Praxis (Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice, Jul 12, 2011)


(Amazon book, Dec 29, 2011) This is a remarkable book for its head-on criticism of penal substitutionary atonement and the theory of divine retributive justice. Snyder-Belousek is strong on exegesis, and argues persuasively for divine restorative justice, although it is not as clear as I would like about Scripture as a whole, and also theology in early church history. This book review by Stephen D. Morrison is helpful.


(Amazon book, Aug 31, 2011) Examines the criminal justice system in broader perspective: different budgetary and funding incentives for law enforcement agencies; the role of the prosecutor; pivotal Supreme Court cases that made racial discrimination acceptable; etc.  Bill Stuntz was a Christian.  See Douglas Martin, W.J. Stuntz, Who Stimulated Legal Minds, Dies at 52 (NY Times, Mar 20, 2011)


Christopher D. Marshall, Divine Justice as Restorative Justice (Center for Christian Ethics, 2012)


Christopher D. Marshall, Compassionate Justice: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue with Two Gospel Parables on Law, Crime, and Restorative Justice (Amazon book, Aug 1, 2012)


(Amazon book, 2012)


Morgan Guyton, The Two Christianities of Les Miserables (Huffington Post, Jan 3, 2013)


George Walters-Sleyon, Studies on Religion and Recidivism: Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan (Trotter Review, Jul 21, 2013)


Benjamin L. Corey, Justice Broken: How a Poor Theology of the Cross Created America's Broken Justice System (Patheos blog, Jan 27, 2014)


Mark Oppenheimer, An Argument to Turn to Jesus Before Turning to the Bar (NY Times, Feb 28, 2014)


Glenn Miles and Christa Foster Crawford, Stopping the Traffick: A Christian Response to Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking (Amazon book, May 12, 2014)


Alan Noble, Sin’s Part in the System (and Vice Versa): Thoughts on Voddie Baucham’s “Thoughts on Ferguson” (Christ & Pop Culture, Nov 28, 2014)


Thabiti Anyabwile, Spotting "Gospel Escapism" in Evangelical Circles (The Gospel Coalition, Dec 1, 2014)


Father Stephen Freeman, Going to Hell With the Terrorists and Torturers (AncientFaith blog, Dec 12, 2014)


(Amazon book, 2014) A must read on both theology and ethics


(Amazon book, 2014) 


Kelly Thomas, Religion's Fight for Criminal Justice (The American Conservative, Apr 1, 2015)


(Amazon book, Jun 10, 2015) 


Ted Grimsrud, Healing Justice (Peace Theology, Jun 28, 2015)


Jesse Carey, A Christian Case for Ending the War on Drugs (Relevant Magazine, Nov 3, 2015)


Fred R. Conrad, Gadsden Finds God (NY Times, Feb 20, 2016) on collaboration between church and correctional system


Christa Foster Crawford and Glenn Miles, Finding Our Way Through the Traffick: Navigating the Complexities of a Christian Response to Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking (Amazon book, May 1, 2017)


(Harvard Divinity School, Oct 19 - 20, 2017)


(Amazon book, Feb 6, 2018) finds not one, but five, pipelines to prison.  Points out that America's highly retributive culture and institutions are influenced by penal substitutionary atonement, which supposes a highly retributive, not restorative, God. 


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Catholic Faith and the Urgency of Criminal Justice Reform (America: The Jesuit Review, Jun 27, 2018) 


Vinson Cunningham, How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think (New Yorker Magazine, Jan 21, 2019) is a helpful cultural commentary

Information or Intriguing:

Examples of Restorative Justice in Criminal Justice


International Institute for Restorative Practices (website)


Carina Patritti, Restoring Human Trafficking Victims Through Victim-Offender Dialogue (Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, linked through Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, Jan 6, 2014)


Claire Feikert-Ahalt, Terror, Trial, and Justice in Norway (Law Librarians of Congress blog, Sep 26, 2011)


Prison Culture, Transformative Justice (US Prison Culture, Mar 12, 2012) which is a community accountability model


Max Fisher, A Different Justice: Why Anders Brievik Only Got 21 Years for Killing 77 People (The Atlantic, Aug 24, 2012)


Paul Tullis, Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? (NY Times, Jan 6, 2013, the case of Conor McBride and Ann Grosmaire)


Erwin James, The Norwegian Prison Where Inmates Are Treated Like People (The Guardian, Feb 24, 2013)


Daniel Reisel, The Neuroscience of Restorative Justice (TED talk, Feb 2013)


Elizabeth Gudrais, The Prison Problem (Harvard Magazine, Mar-Apr 2013)


Travis Gettys, Private Prisons Demand States Maintain Maximum Capacity or Pay Fees (Raw Story, Sep 20, 2013)


Pastor Michael McBride, Seeking Redemption: Private Prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown, and All of Us (Huffington Post, Sep 27, 2013)


Johnathan Kana, How Scandanavian Prisons Model a Redemptive Sense of Punishment (Think Christian blog, Oct 8, 2013)


Richard Orange, Sweden Closes Four Prisons as Number of Inmates Plummets (The Guardian, Nov 11, 2013)


Rebecca Savastio, KKK Member Walks up to Black Musician in Bar - But It’s Not a Joke, and What Happens Next Will Astound You (Las Vegas Guardian Express, Nov 20, 2013)


Jack Cloherty and Pierre Thomas, Teens as Young as 13 Rescued from Super Bowl Sex Trafficking (ABC News, Feb 4, 2014)


Shane Bauer, How Conservatives Learned to Love Prison Reform (Mother Jones, March/April 2014)


Marquette University Law School, Restorative Justice and Human Trafficking - From Wisconsin to the World (Marquette University Law School conference, Mar 20, 2015)


Jessica Benko, The Radical Humaneness of Norway's Halden Prison (NY Times, Mar 26, 2015)


Carlos Correa, Youth Offenders Get a Second Chance Through City Heights Program (San Diego 6, Aug 20, 2015)


Bettie Kirkland and Irwin Venick, Addressing 'The New Jim Crow' in Nashville Critical (The Tennessean, Sep 28, 2015)


Maggie Koerth-Baker, There's a Reliable Therapy for Sex Offenders -- But Nobody Wants Them to Get It (Gizmodo, Oct 1, 2015)


David Gonzalez, In Fight to Save Young People, Brooklyn Doctor Treats Violence as a Public Health Issue (NY Times, Nov 1, 2015)


Dina Kraft, At Mass. Prison, Inmates And Victims Get A Chance At Dialogue (WBUR, Feb 16, 2016)


Laura Mirsky, Building and Sustaining a Restorative City in Detroit, MI (International Institute for Restorative Practices, May 26, 2016)


Meghan Racklin, Why Mandatory Minimum Sentencing For Sexual Assault Isn’t The Answer (The Establishment, Jul 21, 2016)


Adam Wisnieski, Offender Meets Victim: A ‘Survivor-Centered’ Approach to Violent Crime (The Crime Report, Apr 12, 2017)


Boston Public Radio Staff, Former Suffolk Country Sheriff Andrea Cabral on Restorative Justice (WGBH, May 18, 2017) regarding the old practice of being put in stocks in the marketplace being an aspect of restorative justice; also victims being self-centered and needing to understand how others might have been victimized if crimes are committed randomly


Lilly Yu, Jeanette Hussemann, Hanna Love, Evelyn McCoy, and Colleen Owens, Alternative Forms of Justice for Human Trafficking Survivors Considering Procedural, Restorative, and Transitional Justice (Urban Institute, Mar 2018)


Christine Hauser, Teenage Vandals Were Sentenced to Read Books. Here’s What One Learned (NY Times, Apr 5, 2018)


Ed Mazza, Instant Justice In A Traffic Jam Is The Most Satisfying Thing You’ll See Today (Huffington Post, Apr 18, 2018) a video that shows how satisfying it is to see retributive justice in action

Part of the series: