Juries, Juries Everywhere (But Not Inside the Courts)

Albert W. Dzur

in Punishment, Participatory Democracy, and the Jury

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199874095
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980024 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Penal Theory and Philosophy

Juries, Juries Everywhere (But Not Inside the Courts)

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This chapter turns from the normative to the practical case for more participatory democracy in criminal justice by examining the contemporary use of jury-like procedures in municipal policymaking and in restorative justice programs. Reformers such as Dienel and Fishkin have employed citizens’ juries and deliberative polls in complex urban planning and environmental management matters. Both procedures recruit representative groups of citizens, provide information, facilitate dialogue, and seek to obtain reflective opinions useful for policymaking. Restorative justice programs like Vermont Reparative Probation also incorporate lay citizen participation to spark thoughtful dialogue between offenders, victims, and supporters. Differing in scope and process from the traditional jury, these jury-like experiments consider a wider range of issues and involve all participants in a multifaceted conversation. These experiments, this chapter argues, underscore the jury’s contemporary relevance and potential, yet they also demonstrate the comparative advantages of the traditional jury. The jury trial has created a distinct, durable, and public role for citizens; though circumscribed, lay decision making on the jury makes a concrete impact on real lives and incrementally shapes criminal justice more broadly.

Keywords: citizens’; jury; criminal justice; deliberative poll; Dienel; Fishkin; participatory democracy; policymaking; restorative justice; Vermont Reparative Probation

Chapter.  7839 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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