Restoration Vs Restorative Justice

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Coming into this course, I was already familiar with the notion of restorative justice, but at that time my understanding of the overarching concepts was still quite vague. When sharing my views on the current justice system, and some potential improvements to be made, I used the terms restoration and rehabilitation synonymously, thinking they were interchangeable. Through my experiences in the first month of this course, through a mixture of lectures, readings, and even one compelling art exhibit, I have learned that this is not at all the case; rehabilitation offers up some good ideas and principles that can tie into a restorative worldview, but ultimately restoration has a very unique and exclusive meaning.
One similarity between the two
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Rehabilitation has a clear micro-level focus in the justice system; it will investigate each offense individually, break it down piece by piece, to determine what went wrong and what the offender must do to change their ways. While rehabilitation can be a beneficial approach for some offenders, it is rather one-dimensional and short-sighted, as it doesn’t, “have much, if anything, to say about… the injustice done to the actual victims of an offense” (Brunk 43). The impact of a crime is often more severe long after the crime has passed, as the psychological turmoil persists on, relentlessly. Judith Herman writes in detail about how the trauma that results from a criminal offense can, “call into question basic human relationships… breach the attachments of family, friendship, love, and community… [and] shatter the construction of the self” (Herman, 51). While rehabilitative practices should be just as applicable to victims as they are to offenders, rehabilitative support is seldom provided to the victim. There exists a misguided notion that for a person to be eligible for rehabilitation, they themselves must have done something wrong. Because of this ill-conceived perception, rehabilitation has become an exclusive model, and a model that further isolates the victim. Conversely, restorative justice contains an overarching understanding of how all…show more content…
Crimes not only leave a dark mark on the victim; they can also destroy a community, as it derails the elements of trust, safety, and connection that bring community together as a whole. By focusing solely on rehabilitating the offender, this method leaves the community in a state of fear and disarray. The incredibly profound ‘Elmira Story’, which marks the inauguration of restorative justice in western society, accurately illustrates some of the differing elements of restorative and rehabilitative principles. In 1974, two intoxicated men went on a destructive rampage in the streets of Elmira, a small Ontario town, breaking windows and setting things on fire. This vicious crime left the local residents distraught; they couldn’t fathom how something like this could happen in their town. People feared that this act had compromised the integrity and safety of their community. If rehabilitative practice were applied in this situation, the system would have recognized that they were under the influence of alcohol, and must not have been aware of the damage they were causing. It would have taught them that it is important to drink responsibly and always be aware of their actions. In the likely event that they be forced to pay for at least part of the property damage caused, the men would see restitution as a way of punishing them. They would realize
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