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Empathy: Tap It or Teach It, but Definitely Integrate It
APRIL 30, 2012 
"What will all this empathy honing and cheerleading mean for justice issues? What will happen if we change our approach to crime and justice from an individualistic, punishment-oriented one, toward one that uses empathy and brings together offenders and victims, allowing each to understand and feel the pain of the other? Are the accusations of Canada’s Conservative Party, for example, that anyone who opposes more punitive responses to crime doesn’t care about victims justified? Are fears that integrating empathy into crime and justice issues make us “soft on crime” valid?

Empathy is not a new concept in justice issues. Different societies have, at different times, dealt with crime in an empathetic, cohesive manner, one which contrasts immensely with our own punishment-oriented, individualistic and largely ineffective means of dealing with crime. Healing circles have been used by Native peoples for centuries. And the efforts to implement victim-offender reconciliation in the western criminal justice system have been growing. "