I just got back from Florida State, where I presented a paper at a faculty workshop. (Many thanks to Professor and PrawfsBlawger Dan Markel for being a terrific host.) In the paper, I propose a new type of specialized drug court built around restorative justice principles. (The paper is not on SSRN yet, but look for it soon.) The FSU folks had a lot of helpful comments and questions. In one of the more interesting exchanges, my interlocutor raised a concern that restorative justice, with its focus on personal accountability, would detract from a broader social justice agenda, drawing attention away from the structural inequalities in society that contribute to the prevalence of crime in low-income communities. It’s a fair point, although I think my proposed RJ program, which would draw lay community representatives into conferences with drug offenders, is capable of contributing to the sort of community mobilization and political activism that my interlocutor favors. In any event, I was a bit surpised to find myself defending RJ from a social justice challenge. RJ proponents sometimes present themselves as the vanguard of a revolutionary social movement. How ironic, then, that when I first advocate an RJ solution to an important social problem, it is suggested that I am really acting as (to use Chad Oldfather’s phrase) “Agent of the Man”!