Within the judicial and criminal justice systems, restorative justice is seen as a forward moving process in regards to the way in which the sentencing of offenders is handled (Britto & Reimund, 2013). Restorative justice works to focus on the needs of both the victim and the offender but incorporates the community as well as those who support both the victim and offender (Britto & Reimund, 2013). The approach of restorative justice in not simply a means by which society responds to and reduces crime but instead, provides an equivalently valuable social response to crime (Dancig-Rosenberg and Galt, 2013). Furthermore, the restorative approach places emphasis on the personal and relational harms which were caused by the crime while creating space for dialogue concerning the actual damage, whether directly or
An Evaluation of the Restorative Justice Model In Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology, Karmen (2015) outlines the restorative justice model of confronting perpetrators of criminal acts. Restorative justice is an alternative to the more traditional legal system of retributive justice; this model strives to increase communication between victim and offender and moves the focus away from offender punishment or other state-centered actions (Karmen, 2015). The restorative justice model has several benefits, including a greater level of focus on crime victims and an emphasis on making peace after a criminal event, such that an offender may reintegrate into society at large (Karmen, 2015). Restorative justice also allows for crime victims
Traditionally, crime has been viewed as a violation against the state. Still too little attention is given to the fact that criminal acts are also violations of the victims and the communities. Punishing and correcting offenders’ criminal behaviors should not only be conducted using the concepts of retribution, incapacitation, and deterrence, it should also be designed to repair the damages done to the victims and the communities. Many benefits are associated with shifting to the restorative justice model, for the victim, the offender, and the community. Restorative justice benefits the victims by giving them a voice regarding the accountability of the offender.
Today our justice system has a multitude of options when dealing with those who are convicted of offenses. However, many argue that retributive justice is the only real justice there is. This is mainly because its advantage is that it gives criminals the appropriate punishment that they deserve. The goals of this approach are clear and direct. In his book The Little Book of Restorative Justice, Zehr Howard (2002), illustrates that the central focus of retributive justice is offenders getting what they deserve (p. 30).
The justice system is constant work in progress as the system must change and evolve to meet the needs, demands and requirements of the times we live in. The justice system and its statutes sometimes struggle to keep up with the ever-changing world; thus making them lag behind. As stated, one of the core functions of the justice system is to provide intervention programs for those individuals who are deemed to be at risk. Intervention programs do exist but still the justice system is overburden with many criminal cases. The inability of justice programs to work as they are intended to is seen as one of the significant problems facing the justice system. Welsh and Harris (2013) seeks to explain the inability of the justice programs to not work in stating, “The problem is that many criminal justice interventions fall short of their goals because of poor planning, poor implementation, and poor evaluation. It is fair to say we have not yet discovered “what works” to reduce crime.” From this, it is clear that the development of interventions is not the issue and not the cause for them to not succeed in their mandates but the problem is within their planning.
There are several old ways of solving crime according to many sources, but restorative justice is a type of rehabilitation process which focuses on repairing, and as the word suggest brings restoration. It rebuilds the lives of individuals who are involve in crime. While crime damages a person life, restorative justice repairs it (Office for Victims of Crime, 2000; Morris and Maxwell, 2001). There are three main stakeholders in a restorative justice process, these are the victims, the offender, and the community, therefore when crime is committed restorative justice sees it as an office against people and not against the state. I believe that in order for restorative justice process to be successful all three parties involve, citizens, victims,
Restorative Justice past practices and activities that are popular within the Restorative justice movement are Prisoner rights and alternatives to prisons, which is a program to change prison condition and minimize incarceration sentencing, Conflict Resolution is a program that creates neighborhood justice centers available to the community. The Victim offender Reconciliation program (VORPs) is a meeting between the victim and the community, Victim-Offender Mediation (VOMS) is mediation between the victim and the offender, Victim Advocacy is the victim rights group which focused on the efforts for restitution for the crime. The family group conferences (FGCs) allow the victim and family and the offenders to meet. The Sentencing Circle includes
4 Criticism and Challenges The first point of criticism against victim participation in restorative justice processes arises from scepticism about an apology to the victim as a way of dealing with criminal matters. The perception sometimes exists as to it simply being a way to get away with the crime.106 Members of the public should thus be educated to understand that restorative justice is more than a mere saying sorry, but in the context of victim offender mediation or family group conferences it rather affords the victim the opportunity to confront the child offender with the real and human cost of his or her criminal actions. Another concern deals with the possible secondary victimisation of the victim in the case where the offender pretends
This type of justice system is designed very differently when compared with the retributive justice system. The restorative justice system endeavours to bring the victim and the offender together and allow them to speak with each other in the hopes to support the healing process. It will enable the victims to express themselves to the offender and lets the offender apologize and express their feelings to the victim. The restorative justice system often offers the victims of crime closure. The system encourages both parties to reveal themselves to each other and develop a solution for the future to satisfy both parties involved.
Today, every state has an extensive body of basic rights and protections for victims of crime within its statutory code. Victims’ rights statutes have considerably influenced the method in which victims are treated in the federal, state, and local criminal justice systems. The core right of victims of crime includes: The right to attend criminal justice proceedings; the right to apply for compensation; the right to be heard and participate in criminal justice proceedings; the right to be informed of proceedings and events in the criminal justice process, of legal rights and remedies, and of available services; the right to protection from intimidation and harassment; the right to restitution from the offender; the right to prompt return of personal property seized as evidence; the right to a speedy trial; and the right to enforcement of these rights. (Office of Justice
B. Restorative Justice There is some theoretical ambiguity in the meaning of Restorative Justice in spite of the many definitions and studies done on the subject. Restorative Justice has been defined as “an ethos with practical goals, among which to restore harm by including affected parties in a (direct or indirect) encounter and a process of understanding through voluntary and honest dialogue.” It is primarily concerned with the reinstatement of victims to life before the crime, restoration of the Offender to a well behaved and lawful life, restoration of the injury caused to the community and the creation of a better society in the present and the future. Restorative Justice is not easily defined because it covers a wide range of practices introduced at different stages of the criminal process, including diversion from prosecution, actions analogous with court decisions and meetings between victims and offenders at any stage of the criminal process. One widely-accepted definition of restorative justice was put forward by Tony Marshall which was also accepted by the United Nations Working Party on Restorative Justice, defined restorative justice as; “a process whereby all parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of an offence and its implications for the future.”
The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Proponents of restorative justice contend that it is more likely than retributive justice to reduce the incidence of crime because of its central concern for the safety of victims. The studies have demonstrated that restorative justice can have a reductive effect in certain cases and can change the behaviour of offenders. On the whole, however, there is more evidence that restorative justice is effective in reducing either the frequency or severity of reoffending for juveniles than in the case of adult offenders. Conclusion and
There are three components that make up the criminal justice system – the police, courts, and correctional facilities – they all work together in order to protect individuals and their rights as a citizen of society to live without the fear of becoming the victim of a crime. Crime, simply put is when a person violates criminal law; the criminal justice system is society’s way of implementing social control. When all three components of the criminal justice work together, it functions almost perfectly.