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Utilizing Royce’s Notion of Atonement to Aid in Offender Reentry

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This paper seeks to utilize Josiah Royce's notion of atonement to help ameliorate the process known as offender reentry. By considering Royce’s criticisms of prevailing models of atonement, I will follow Royce in arguing that community involvement is an irreducible aspect of the atoning process, and will argue that our current failures in offender reentry are due in part to a failure to grasp this point. What is more, by linking Royce’s thought to the transformative justice movement, it is my goal to show that focusing on structural problems that lead to higher rates of minority conviction/incarceration in the process of atonement can make good on Royce’s claim that communities will be better off after having gone through a process of atonement than if no atonement had been needed to begin with.


Ryan Grumberg    
SIUC Dept. of Philosophy
United States


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