On June 15 2011, the city of Vancouver experienced the largest and most destructive riot in its history. The legal response was highly punitive. Because a restorative justice response to riot cases remains largely unexamined, this thesis explores whether, and in what capacity, restorative justice offers an appropriate response with significant benefits when holding rioters accountable. Two analyses were conducted. The first is an exploratory qualitative analysis of the reasons for decision given for the first 20 adult rioters sentenced in Vancouver Provincial Court, and the second is a calculation of the economic benefits associated with making available to rioters a variety of community-based and restorative alternatives to custody. The findings of this thesis lend strong support to the appropriateness of a restorative response to riots, particularly in regard to ensuring consistency with the stated purposes of sentencing in Canadian law. Implications for sentencing rioters based on these findings are offered.
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Thesis advisor: Morrison, Brenda
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