Unitive Justice

  Lovingkindness in action. 

About Unitive Justice

Unitive justice is a term coined by Sylvia Clute in the 1980s to give a name to what might also be called "justice as Love," but the term is gaining wider use. For over 30 years Sylvia has been developing and refining a theory that describes the punitive model of justice that permeates western culture and a path to a model of justice that has no punitive elements--based on the moral principle of lovingkindness and do no harm. Unitive Justice is being taught by comparing 14 structures found in a punitive system to 14 structures found in a unitive system—the Arcs to Unity.

This website has been created and the content has been written by Sylvia Clute. We are immersed in language that applies to punitive justice, a system that is hierarchical, judgmental, punitive, confrontational, self-serving, and answers harm with more harm. Unitive justice is none of those things. But the challenge is to describe Unitive Justice linearly, using words as symbols, for justice is holographic, interwoven, each part being an integral part of the whole. 

In order to communicate easily and effectively about the two distinct models of justice, we must create language that distinguishes Unitive Justice from the established system of retribution and revenge. That is an on-going process, to which many are contributing. The 14 Arcs to Unity provide a framework for this work.

The Alliance for Unitive Justice (www.a4uj.org) is a non-profit headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, dedicated to teaching about Unitive Justice, providing training in how to implement this model of justice, and offering Unitive Justice programs. Sylvia Clute is presently the President and Richmond Program Coordinator for the Alliance.

While Unitive Justice is best understood when it is experienced, this website is a best effort to briefly describe the uniqueness and the power of Unitive Justice. The larger vision includes creating a webinar about Unitive Justice and its implementation and a book that is soon to be published, Unitive Justice: Bending the Arc of Justice Toward Love. The 10 min. video below is from the May, 2016 workshop in Loveland, CO. at Sunrise Ranch. Three participants talk about the workshop experience.


If your organization would like to sponsor a presentation by Sylvia Clute, please complete the contact form. Sylvia brings an urgent message about the need to be aware of the model of justice we choose. There is a connection between (a) punitive justice that teaches it is moral to harm others so long as the harm done is proportional to the harm experienced and (b) the sustained violence in the world. Peace in the world, protection of our environment, the elimination of deep pockets of poverty will be difficult to achieve so long as punitive justice is the norm. The system we are immersed in does not support the outcome we hope to achieve.

Until we have a viable alternative, punitive justice is our only choice. Unitive Justice offers a viable, tested parallel model of justice that we can create at the local level, a model based on the moral principle of lovingkindness. Unitive Justice is a system that supports achieving peace and a better world for future generations. Justice matters and we have a choice!

For more information about Sylvia see www.SylviaClute.com.