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Criminology and Public TheologyOn Hope, Mercy and Restoration$
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Andrew Millie

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529207392

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529207392.001.0001

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Three Intersections in Criminology and Public Theology

Three Intersections in Criminology and Public Theology

(p.45) 3 Three Intersections in Criminology and Public Theology
Criminology and Public Theology

Jonathan Burnside

Policy Press

This chapter explores how public theology challenges criminal justice orthodoxies by asking, provocatively, whether Christianity has been hijacked by imprisonment. The question is systematically explored with reference to three, interrelated, strands: (1) the moral question of ‘seriousness of offence’ which undergirds the sanction of imprisonment; (2) the development of ‘Relational Justice’ as a reform dynamic for criminal justice and prison reform; and (3) the role of faith-based units in prisons. These three strands show the different ways in which juxtaposing prisons and public theology challenges criminal justice orthodoxies; critiques retributive punishment and provides the hope of restoration. They also provide worked examples of the methodologies that are required to successfully link up law with applied social sciences and theology.

Keywords:   Seriousness of offence, Biblical law, Relational Justice, Faith-based units

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