Taking this first step in reconciliation allows for a face to face encounter where restorative dialogue can occur between the victim and the offender in a genuine interaction (Dancig-Rosenberg and Galt, 2013). Furthermore, this process requires that the offender take explicit responsibility for the actions committed while listening and responding to the victim affected by their crime so as to present their own approach for repairing the damage caused (Dancig-Rosenberg and Galt, 2013). This process promotes honest dialogue and an empowering experience for the victim as they feel that their needs are heard and feelings expressed (Dancig-Rosenberg and Galt, 2013). In all, restorative justice benefits the victim, the offender and the community as community ties are strengthened while the process of the restorative approach discourages the offender from committing further crimes through the use of an open-minded and rehabilitative process (Dancig-Rosenberg and Galt,
Offenders who are fortunate enough to experience these programs have showed significantly lower rates of recidivism than those who do not receive any reintegrative support. One of the prime examples is Circles of Support and Accountability; by working directly with sex offenders in a safe environment, helping them share their voice, and equipping them with tools to succeed in society, these offenders, “had a significantly lower rate of any recidivism (11.4%) compared with controls [offenders who did not experience a circle process] (38.6%). They also… had a significantly lower rate of sexual recidivism (2.3%) compared with controls (13.7%)” (Clarke et al, p. 21). These programs are imperative in helping offenders build up confidence and self-esteem so that they can reintegrate properly and safely into their community.
“Another justifiable aim of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation or reformation of character…’It was believed that once left alone with their conscience and the Bible, prisoners would engage in inner reflection, see the error of their ways and be reformed into law abiding citizens’ ”(“13 Most”).
In the developing world, incarceration goes beyond the idea of applying a just punishment upon the offender for committing a criminal action or following a destructive behavior that disturb the public interest and the stability of the community. Incarceration also holds the responsibility to prepare the offender to integrate with the community after he goes out. This rehabilitation should be done on healthy bases that assure the mental health of the offender. With the increased rates of incarceration and long sentence in the US society, rehabilitation program comes as a need more than a right and moral thing to do.
This deliberate measure has deteriorated the main purpose of correctional facilities. The penal harm movement has to led to overcrowding of prisons, degraded inmate living, and health conditions, and numerous other ramifications, which continues to cause society further complications in finding a more efficacious and progressive response to crime. The penal harm movement of 1970’s was introduced to the U.S. correctional facilities by policy makers, after pressure from the public to inflict harsher punishment on inmates. The corrections system often justifies the increasement of penal harm on the basis of retribution and deterrence.
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).
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.
There are currently around 37,000 prisoners in Australia and over 2, 200, 000 in America, populations that have both been increasing greatly in the past decade. 1 2 Therefore more people every year face the immediate concern of rebuilding life, upon release from correctional facilities, and the stigma that will follow them forever. It is the government’s duty to make the transition from prison to society as effective as possible, and to help prisoners become active members of society. Although both America and Australia have strategies that function both inside and out of prisons there are many flaws that are present in these systems. One thing both countries have realised is that it is important to start the process of reintegration
Prison reform has been an ongoing topic in the history of America, and has gone through many changes in America's past. Mixed feelings have been persevered on the status of implementing these prison reform programs, with little getting done, and whether it is the right thing to do to help those who have committed a crime. Many criminal justice experts have viewed imprisonment as a way to improve oneself and maintain that people in prison come out changed for the better (encyclopedia.com, 2007). In the colonial days, American prisons were utilized to brutally punish individuals, creating a gruesome experience for the prisoners in an attempt to make them rectify their behavior and fear a return to prison (encyclopedia.com, 2007). This practice may have worked 200 years ago, but as the world has grown more complex, time has proven that fear alone does not prevent recidivism.
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
When embracing new partners, law enforcement and community based corrections agencies will with certainty confront hesitancy and discretion, especially amidst community partners. Resolution will need to be made to exhibit the probability of the collaboration with those who are being asked to commit time to the undertaking. Acquiring the intelligence and knowledge available to assist all who are involved in the collaborative partnership creates an understanding of the objective thus enhancing the success of the collaboration. Christians involved in criminal justice are Gods’ social workers whose responsibility it is to address issues, spiritual and physical; thus, formulating solutions and collaborating with others to match them to the best avenue of assistance without compromising public safety and the dignity of those who are being aided (James 1:27, 2:14-17; ; Isaiah 1:17; Zechariah
Introduction There are several different programs focused on offenders. These programs range from religious, educational, medical and job training related. The main goal in each program is to reduce the chances of them returning back to their old habit that originally placed them in jail or in other words reduce recidivism. Recidivism is a very important element in the criminal justice system, because reducing or increasing the number of re-offenses in the community could be beneficial or make the community flood with criminals and their behavior. Without a focus on recidivism, officers will be arresting the same offenders repeatedly and the individual will not be getting the help they need, which could be the difference of them being a productive member of society or not.
This research paper will discuss why there is no value to the just deserts approach and why, if supplemented with a re-entry program, just deserts will have a greater significance. The theory and practice of the just deserts approach will be examined as well as why it does not appear to be working for offenders. Additionally, re-entry programs will be analyzed; those operating in Canada and in the United States, to further explain why reintegrating is better for the community and offenders. It is easy to agree with the just deserts approach to crime, however, when a loved one is affected by the harsh punishments and the negative consequences of prison, it makes life afterward extremely
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
Research Evidence Supporting empirical evidence is overwhelming for the restorative justice process and its use with young offenders in the juvenile justice system and because of this, focus will be placed on adult offender studies. The Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota conducted an independent review of multiple meta-analyses of restorative justice programs. In these studies, victims participated on average in about 50% of the cases but rates as high as 90% were reported. The willingness to participate was motivated by the need to help the offender change their life choices, understand the justification of the crime, and to share their pain with the offender (Umbreit, Vos, & Coates, 2006, p. 2).