Written by: Sarah Nantongo

In the realm of youth justice, there exists a pivotal debate persists between two fundamental approaches: rehabilitation and retribution. While retribution emphasizes punishment as a means of addressing wrongdoing, rehabilitation aims to address the root causes of juvenile delinquency and help young offenders to reintegrate them positively into society. This essay advocates for the prioritization of rehabilitation over retribution in youth justice systems, citing its effectiveness in fostering long-term societal benefits and nurturing the potential for positive change among young individuals. 

Rehabilitation has a high potential of reducing recidivism rates.This is because it addresses the root cause of criminal behavior and offers offenders an opportunity to grow, reform and become better people in society by providing them with necessary support (Bandyopadhyay, 2020) and treatment through therapy and education. For example, there was a reduction in reoffending rates in Norway after they moved their focus from punishment to rehabilitation (Bandyopadhyay, 2020). Baraza (2020) argues that rehabilitation allows the criminal justice system to identify factors that could have encouraged these criminals to undertake their deviant ways thus doing more than putting criminals away. According to Weatherburn (1982), severe harsh sentences have not shown their effectiveness in reducing recidivism and that the prevention of further criminal behavior which rehabilitation achieves should be given more priority. Similarly, statistics from the department of justice showed that 67.5% of former prisoners that had not been submitted to rehabilitation programs would be arrested again as compared to retribution (Bernard et al, 2017). In the same vein, Bandyopadhyay (2020) notes that harsh punishments are not very effective in achieving recidivism. Thus rehabilitation is more important than retribution as it reduces the chances of criminals reoffending and addresses the root cause of crimes. 

Furthermore rehabilitation is economically cheaper as compared to retribution. Rehabilitation is an economically cost effective method of reducing crime as compared to the idea of retribution (Bandyopadhyay,2020). Bernard et al (2017) notes that rehabilitation is more economically beneficial and effective than incarceration. Lengthy prison sentences can be financially burdensome due to the high costs associated with it such as maintenance of a large number of inmates. For example , Morsch, 2019 argues that a lot of money is spent in the United states by the criminal justice system on prisons which are not effectively making society or individuals lives better. In the same vein, retribution has social costs as offenders often struggle to reintegrate in society (Sasha Abramsky, 2013) and may face issues such as unemployment which increases demands on social services and healthcare. Rehabilitation programs furthermore help criminals reform and acquire new skills which may aid them in finding employment and reduce the burden on the state and society by decreasing the likelihood of them resorting to illegal activities to sustain themselves and contributing to the economy through tax payment. This suggests that retribution of criminals is economically expensive and ineffective thus making rehabilitation more important than it.

Though, some have argued that retribution satisfies the victims desire for justice by providing a just punishment to the criminals and holding them accountable for their actions. .Retribution satisfies the current desire of anger and returning crime with punishment (Rubin, 2003). According to Bernard et al (2017), the majority of people advocate for retribution as they believe it gives the offender what they deserve. It seeks to impose hardship on the criminal as a just response to crime (Bandyopadhyay, 2020) and fulfills the desire of inflicting corresponding amounts of suffering upon the criminal (David and Choi, 2009).This suggests that retribution achieves justice, closure for victims and public support since it serves punishment to criminals by holding them accountable for their wrong doing. 

However, retribution justice often leads to a society filled with vengeance, violence and ignores the underlying causes of crime. Morsch (2019) notes that retribution is about making the offender know how it feels like to be mistreated and paying back the harm. This may lead to an inhumane society and does not allow the victim to heal from the crime. On the other hand, rehabilitation offers restorative justice which is a better alternative to punishment. Restorative justice allows the victims to heal from the offense committed to them and not be slaves to it by harboring lasting anger and hatred.Galaway and Hudson (1996) suggest that creating peace in communities by reconciling and repairing the injuries between the victim and the offender should be the aim of the criminal justice process. In the same vein, Morsch (2019) argues that restorative justice has many benefits as it allows the victims to heal from the crime and solves the conflict between them. This in turn may lead to social harmony in society, allows the victim to heal and recognises that a criminal can reform and accord them with dignity thus making rehabilitation more important. 

It can be argued that retribution serves as a deterrent for potential crimes. This implies that retribution sends a clear message that crime will be met with severe punishment thus discouraging people from doing it. Crime will be deterred by harsh prison sentences since no one would want to spend that much time in prison and an example of this is Rockefeller Drug laws in New York which consist of severe sentences as a means to deter people from violating drugs and committing crimes related to it (Bernard et al , 2017). Imai and Krishna (2004) argue that policies like rehabilitation that are not powerful in deterrence are weak and less effective as criminals have no fear to stay away from disobeying the established mode of conduct. This suggests that retribution of criminals is more important than rehabilitation since it ensures that people stay away from committing crimes due to the fear of punishment. 

In contrast, research suggests that the threat of punishment alone does not effectively deter individuals from committing crimes. Weatherburn (1982) notes that harsh sentences have not shown their effectiveness in prevention of further criminal behavior. In the same vein, Bernard et al (2017) notes that rehabilitation is more effective in reducing further crime rates than severe prison sentences and that people are less likely to commit crimes if the underlying causes of why crimes were committed have been addressed rather than because of the sentence they might receive. This suggests that by focusing on rehabilitation, the criminal justice system is more likely to create safer communities with reduced criminal rates since rehabilitation will address the underlying issues of why crimes are caused and have a long impact in the deterrence of crimes in society. 

In conclusion, the adoption of rehabilitation over retribution in the juvenile justice system is compelling because by prioritizing the holistic well-being and long-term prospects of youth offenders, rehabilitation not only reduces recidivism but also cultivates a society that values empathy, second chances, and the potential for positive transformation. Evidence supports its efficacy in reducing recidivism rates and promoting public safety, while also respecting the inherent dignity and potential for growth in every individual. As society strives to build a more just and equitable future, embracing rehabilitation as a cornerstone of youth justice is not only pragmatic but essential for fostering positive societal change. 


Bernard, J. et al. (2017) ‘Perceptions of Rehabilitation and Retribution in the Criminal Justice System: A Comparison of Public Opinion and Previous Literature’, Journal of Forensic Sciences & Criminal Investigation, 5(3), 555669. Perceptions of Rehabilitation and Retribution in the Criminal Justice System: A Comparison of Public Opinion and Previous Literature (juniperpublishers.com) 

Baraza, S. (2020) ‘Criminal Justice Should Focus More on Rehabilitation than Punishment. Social Science Research Network’, SSRN. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3727711 

Abramsky, S. (2013) ‘Second Chance: Charting a New Course for Re-Entry and Criminal Justice Reform’, NCJRS. Available at: Second Chance: Charting a New Course for Re-Entry and Criminal Justice Reform | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov) 

Galaway, B. and Hudson, J. (1996) ‘Restorative Justice: International Perspectives’, NCJRS. Available at: Restorative Justice: International Perspectives | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov) 

Weatherburn, D. (1982) ‘Seven Arguments Against Rehabilitation – An Assessment of Their Validity’, NCJRS. Available at: Seven Arguments Against Rehabilitation – An Assessment of Their Validity | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov) 

Bandyopadhyay, S. (2020) ‘ Why rehabilitation – not harsher prison sentences – makes economic sense’, The Conversation, 24(May). Available at: https://theconversation.com/why-rehabilitation-not-harsher-prison-sentences-makes-economic-s ense-132213. Accessed: 11 June 2023).

Brenda de Oliveira Morsch, B.d.(2019). ‘Retribution vs. Restoration: Tendencies of the Criminal Justice System’, Dominican Scholar. Available at: Retribution vs. Restoration: Tendencies of the Criminal Justice System (dominican.edu) 

Imai, S. and Krishna, K. (2004) ‘Employment, Deterrence, and Crime in a dynamic model’, International Economic Review, 45(3), 845-872. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0020-6598.2004.00289.x 

Rubin, E. (2003). ‘Just Say No to Retribution’, Buffalo Criminal Law Review, 7(1), 17–83. https://doi.org/10.1525/nclr.2003.7.1.17 

David, R., and Choi, S. Y. P. (2009).’ Getting Even or Getting Equal? Retributive Desires and Transitional Justice’. Political Psychology, 30(2), 161–192. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25655385

Written by: Maite Sastre

A new social protest has taken over the internet and divided opinions. The 4B movement was born in South Korea out of a combination of previous Korean digital feminism initiatives. Proponents of this protest preach the 4Bs, or 4 No’s: no heterosexual sex (Korean: 비섹스; bisekseu), no heterosexual dating (Korean: 비연애; biyeonae), no heterosexual marriage ​​(Korean: 비혼; bihon), and no childbearing (Korean: 비출산; bichulsan). A lot of members also sport shorter haircuts and no make-up in order to defy ever-narrowing beauty standards.

The movement gained traction in 2019, along with the MeToo movement in the West, and recently it reached social media apps like TikTok and Instagram. Although it’s not clear exactly how many participants it has as many have chosen to remain anonymous, it’s estimated somewhere between 5,000 and 50,000. On social media apps, people have been giving their opinion about this form of social protest and while a lot show support for it, many others see it as too radical.

People who disagree with the movement often point towards South Korea’s extremely low birth rates. The United Nations found in 2020 that the average woman has just 1.1 children, which has become worrisome as it will not be able to keep up with its aging population and economy, creating a looming threat of a demographic crisis.

There are many reasons why the 4B movement has grown so much in Korea. The three main ones are clear: the culture has always been and remains very conservative, so the idea of women being inferior is constantly perpetuated; the large inequality in economic power between Korean men and women; and the increasingly worrisome rates of gender-based violence.

I. Cultural perpetuation of discrimination

South Korea culture has continued to uphold very conservative values throughout the years. A lot of Koreans still carry traditional Confucian patriarchal values in their day to day, which leads to women often being treated as inferior to their male partners, colleagues, and family members.

Confucianism teaches ideas of social hierarchy and harmony through philosophical and ethical lenses. Usually, through a Confucianist’s point of view, everyone in society has a role to fulfill and, historically, the role of women has been being mothers and housewives. This has made their entry into the workforce more difficult and left them with little control over their lives.

In fact, a paper by the Gettysburg college points out that “the only direct reference to women in the Analects of Confucius can be interpreted as very demeaning: ‘Women and small [minded] people are hard to deal with…’”

These values also usually make it so women’s lives are very reliant upon their reputations, which define their access to employment, friendships, relationships and almost all parts of their lives. An intangible image of “sexual purity” becomes a central goal in the lives of girls who wish to thrive in traditional Confucian societies.

II. Economic gap

South Korea also has an ever-growing issue with gender-pay inequality. In 2023, the World Economic Forum found in their yearly Global Gender Gap Index that Korea was the 105th country with the widest gender-pay gap out of 146 total. In fact, when compared with 2022, the country fell 7 spots in women’s educational attainment (from 97th to 104th place) and 16 in political empowerment (from 72nd to 88th place).

As the divide between men’s and women’s access to wages, education and political power widens, more women become outraged by the situation and by their counterparts’ apparent inability to recognize these struggles.

III. Gender-based violence

In 2018, tensions over gender-based digital violence came to a boiling point and tens of thousands of Korean women took their grievances to the streets in a series of six protests in Seoul, where they held up signs with phrases like “My life is not your porn,” and “Are we not human?”

The epidemic of digital sex crimes continues to grow every year and its victims are overwhelmingly women (80% in cases involving spycams), while the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are men (98%). The protests broke out when a woman received a jail sentence for distributing nude pictures of a man after so many men had gone free for the same crime.

There are two more prevalent types of digital sex crimes: spycam crimes, where the perpetrator obtains the images without the knowledge of the victim by putting small cameras in bathrooms and changing rooms or hiding them during sexual activity, and distribution of images obtained with or without consent or artificially fabricated. Spycam crimes are often linked to distribution, because the men behind the spycam tend to post/share the illegal content they created. However, distribution goes further than spycams because if the photos were taken consensually but distributed nonconsensually or if they were fabricated with artificial intelligence platforms and distributed, it is still a digital sex crime. Many women feel discouraged to date men for fear that sexual partners will leak intimate photos or videos.

The Korean Herald reported that more than 240,000 illegally produced and distributed sexual photos and videos were deleted in 2023 by anti-digital sex crime organizations – an increase of 30,855 from the year before.

But digital sex crimes are not the only type of gender-based violence that continues to grow in Korea. Infamously, in February of 2022, a woman was physically assaulted and almost raped by a man in Busan. The man had a large list of prior convictions, but judges decided to lighten his sentence from the asked 35 years to 20 years, which the victim attributed to the assailant’s familial background. The incident was nicknamed the “roundhouse kick” incident and gained special attention after the victim made an online posting titled “I’ll be dead in 12 years”; discussing her fear of being murdered once her aggressor gets released.

A survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family conducted a survey in Korea in 2016 and found that the incidence of intimate-partner violence was at 41.5 percent, significantly higher than the global average of 30 percent. Women feel unsafe not only because of the high rates of gender based violence, but also because courts continue to take mitigating factors into account when imposing sentences. Many see dating as an extremely high risk activity and to the proponents of the 4B movement, the reward does not outweigh the possibility of harm.

IV. Social Media

Last but not least, the 4B movement experienced an astronomical spur as popular creators on social media apps like TikTok have gotten wind of it. They have used their platforms to share their opinions on it and often interact within each other, spreading the ideas of the movement all over the world.

TikTok creator Mandy (@pottymouthpollyanna) responded to another creator’s video, who claimed that the 4B movement was evil and an attack against men. Mandy stitched his video, rebutting that the creator should actually turn his anger toward other men as the whole reason why the movement is catching the attention of so many women is because it resonates with their lived experience. The video amassed over a hundred thousand likes.

However, not everything online is always accurate. South Korean creator Anna Lee (@jyannalee on TikTok) claims that the 4B movement is not as strong in Korea as people online are making it seem. She claims that it’s a small sector of the population who thinks that way, that many women are still looking to get married and that because of that matchmaking programs in Korea are still very popular.

In the end, a majority of videos made by women and shared on the app seem to be in support of the movement. Even those who were previously unaware of it expressed agreement with the ideas and sentiments shared by the women who are a part of it. Some even have pledged to become a part of it in countries outside Korea.


Barr, Heather. “‘My Life Is Not Your Porn.’” Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch, 2 Aug. 2023, www.hrw.org/report/2021/06/16/my-life-not-your-porn/digital-sex-crimes-south-korea.

Craddock, Danny S. “The Asian Five Dragons: What’s the Relationship of Confucianism and Gender Inequality? .” The Cupola Scholarship at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg College, 2022, cupola.gettysburg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1771&context=student_scholarship.

“Global Gender Gap Report 2023.” World Economic Forum, June 2023, www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2023.pdf.

Ji-hyoung, Son. “Is S. Korea Dangerous for Women?” The Korea Herald, The Korea Herald, 26 Sept. 2023, www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20230926000525.

Jun-hee, Park. “Over 240,000 Illegal Sexual Photos, Videos Deleted This Year.” The Korea Herald, The Korea Herald, 29 Dec. 2023, www.koreaherald.com/view.phpud=20231229000456#:~:text=Over%20240%2C000%20illegally%20produced%20and,deleted%20between%20January%20and%20Dec.

Kim, Soojeong. “Predictors and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Impacting Korean Women.” The University of Texas at Austin, Aug. 2022, repositories.lib.utexas.edu/server/api/core/bitstreams/2db0cb7c-47c4-4d26-87b1-63b029625b03/content.

Lih Yi, Beh. “No Sex, No Babies: South Korea’s Emerging Feminists Reject Marriage | Reuters.” Reuters, 20 Jan. 2020, www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-women-rights-idUSKBN1ZJ02Z/.

TikTok, uploaded by Mandy (@pottymouthpollyanna), 05 April 2024,


You seem confused. Welcome to the find out part of this game. We’re done. We’ve had enough. Go complain to someone who cares.

♬ original sound – Mandy ♥️


TikTok, uploaded by Anna Lee (@jyannalee), 31 March 2024,


thanks to my friend @Annie Nova for making this video! The 4b movement is not as big in Korea as y’all think it is #korea #seoul #4bmovement #livinginkorea #southkorea

♬ original sound – Anna Lee – Anna Lee


TikTok, uploaded by The News Movement (@thenewsmovement), 11 April 2024,


South Korea’s feminist 4B movement started in 2019 but is blowing up all over again. No heterosexual marriage, no childbirth, no dating men and no heterosexual sexual relationships. It’s about the radical rejecting of traditional gender norms. So how did it start, what does it mean and is it really impacting the country’s birth rates? #4b #4bmovementsouthkorea #4bmovement

♬ original sound – The News Movement

Written by Zethu Tiffany Manana

Restorative justice offers a glimmer of hope amidst the complexities of juvenile justice systems and societal challenges. Traditional punitive methods have been the mainstay of dealing with minor infractions for many years. But things are changing; restorative justice for youth is a revolutionary new approach that puts healing, responsibility, and reconciliation first. Beyond being just a legal idea, restorative justice is a movement, a philosophy, and a technique. Its fundamental tenet is the deep conviction that every person (even those who have broken social norms) is entitled to dignity. Restorative justice, as opposed to punishment, aims to make amends for the wrongs done, attend to the needs of all parties involved, and promote understanding and a sense of community.

The potential of restorative justice to empower the youth is among its most alluring features. Young people who are subjected to traditional punitive measures frequently feel stigmatised, alone, and cut off from society. As an attempt to remedy this, restorative practices provide them a chance to own up to their mistakes, comprehend the repercussions of their behaviour, and actively engage in making amends. Young offenders are not only held accountable but also given the chance to grow and learn from their mistakes through dialogue, mediation, and restitution. Furthermore, restorative justice acknowledges the complexity of crime and how it affects victims, perpetrators, families, and communities. Victims are not marginalised; rather they are positioned at the centre of the process, having their experiences validated and their needs for healing, closure, and restitution met. In the wake of harm, restorative justice has the ability to rebuild trust, empathy, and human connection by promoting meaningful communication between victims and offenders. Restorative practices assist in ending the cycle of crime and violence by addressing the root causes of delinquent behaviour, such as trauma, substance abuse, or socioeconomic inequality. In addition, the focus on community involvement and support systems gives young people the tools and direction they need to reintegrate into society as contributing members of society.

Restorative justice, however, does have certain drawbacks and restrictions in addition to its obvious advantages. Its widespread adoption is still hampered by institutional resistance, resource limitations, and implementation hurdles.Furthermore, there are worries about the possibility of coercion, injustice, and retraumatisation during restorative procedures, particularly for vulnerable groups like young people of colour or those from low-income families. Changing policies, involving the community, conducting continuous research and evaluation, and other multimodal strategies are all necessary to meet these challenges. We can guarantee the efficient and moral application of restorative practices by funding restorative justice training for educators, law enforcement officials, and juvenile justice specialists. In addition, we can establish a juvenile justice system that is more compassionate and just by pushing for legislative modifications that give rehabilitation and diversion precedence over incarceration.

In conclusion, for young people, restorative justice is a move away from traditional punitive measures and towards accountability, healing, and reconciliation. By giving young people the chance to own up to their mistakes and grow from them via forgiveness and reconciliation. Nonetheless, obstacles like resource limitations and institutional resistance continue to exist. It will take continued research, community involvement, and policy reforms to overcome these challenges. In the end, adopting restorative justice could lead to the development of a juvenile justice system that is just and compassionate.