The restorative method is one of the critical philosophies of justice. The paradigm allows the victim and the suspect to meet and work together to repair the damage caused by the incident. Restorative justice differs from most forms of justice in that it focuses on making the perpetrator accept complete blame for his or her acts. In the presence of mediators, the model enables contact between the perpetrator and the victim. As a result, it provides an avenue for the people involved to make peace and live in harmony with one another. Unlike other forms of justice where the focus is on the punishment of the perpetrator, restorative justice guarantees communication between the parties for the possibility of making peace within the society. An extensive collaboration between the felon and the affected ascertains restorative justice achieves the primary target in repairing the outcomes of crime in the community and fostering unity in the society.
Restorative justice began in the early nineteenth century. In 1977, Albert Eglash, a psychologist dealing with imprisoned individuals, outlined the focus of the model into three major categories (Schwartz 100). The first purpose of the theory was punishing the offender. The penalty was a mode of discouraging the culprit from the practice as well as setting a good example to the other members of the society. The second purpose was offering corrective lessons for the offender. The classes assured the felon adopted the desired qualities and refrained from any criminal activities. Lastly, restorative justice aimed at reconciling the victim and the offender. After punishment and correction of the delinquent, it was important for the community to ensure peaceful coexistence through reconciliation of the two groups. The agreement marked the last step and a fundamental advantage of using the approach in crime resolution.
Restorative justice gives closure to the affected, offender, and the community. The process of restorative justice involves a practice where the sufferer and the culprit meet and discuss the incident in the midst of the mediators. In the method, the victim enjoys the opportunity to ask questions to the offender to comprehend the reason behind the crime. Most of the fatalities of crime tend to experience a psychological problem, especially in trying to grasp the reason why the offender chose them for the felony. Therefore, the system gets to provide answers to some of the questions that the victims might have. According to Clamp (68), a lecturer in criminology at University of Western Sydney, the communication brings reconciliation to both parties leading to closure for the involved parties. Restorative justice gives the felon an opportunity to apologize to the casualty leaving both parties contented. The procedure is not as long as the formal criminal justice system therefore saves both time and money.
Due to the traditional approach to restorative justice, this practice saves both time and finances used in the criminal justice system. In the modern method of criminal justice, the financial implication is high. Much time is taken in investigating the crime making the whole proceeding lengthy and costly. Moreover, the incarceration of the offender exposes the country to further economic implications in feeding the convicts in the correctional facilities. According to Johnstone (21), a law professor at Hull University, the restorative justice approach is a faster and economic friendly approach. The voluntary interaction between the offender and the subject eliminates any financial implication for the approach. The society provides the platform for the parties to engage each other and ensures immediate reconciliation. Therefore, the cost is minimal, and the government does not have to invest more funds in investigations and for the correctional facility after the incarceration of the transgressor.
The primary role of a criminal justice system is the correction of behaviors for people in the society who possess undesirable qualities that are in contrary to the law of the land. The incarceration of offenders seeks to communicate that the community does not promote such actions. The outcome is the reduction of crime and correction of the behavior of the felons. According to Walgrave (57), a professor in criminology at Katholieke University in Belgium, restorative justice finds a common ground for the reconciliation of the affected groups. Apart from the reconciliation between the criminal and the fatality, the society is also an active participant in the procedure. The explanation offered by the delinquent to the fatality seeks to restore his/her position in the community. After the justice system, the whole society stays vigilant to make certain that the offender remains a proper part of the nation. The societal acceptance and reconciliation with the victim eliminate recidivism.
The model of reconciliation minimizes any possibilities of having any party in need of revenging to the other. According to Walgrave (57), a professor in criminology at Katholieke University in Belgium, the potential for reoffending reduce with the interaction between the sufferer and the convict. In a formal system of criminal justice, incarceration of the offender might leave one of the individuals in dire need for revenge. Therefore, the end of the imprisonment might experience new conflicts between the felon and the victim. In restorative justice, the mediators grant an amicable solution to the conflict. All the groups leave the scene comfortable with the ultimate decision made for the crime. The contentment means that none of the teams has any hidden agenda or the need to revenge on each other. Restorative justice rebuilds the broken relationship between the transgressor and the affected by addressing the harm caused by the crime and overseeing total reconciliation for the involved parties.
Reddy (143), a lawyer in south Wales, postulates that restorative justice builds unity in the society by giving the people an opportunity to take part in a mediation progress. The people involved in the mediation are the community members. The team selected by the society intervenes in the conflict leading to cohesion within the society. Further, the members of the community become vigilant on criminal activities due to their involvement in guaranteeing peace and reconciliation with between the offender and the fatality. The steps of restorative justice build the unity within the society and establish reduced criminal activities for the population. The community stops depending on the state for solutions. For the younger generation, restorative justice presents a learning opportunity of the vices despised by the society. Therefore, the young generation grows with a full empathy of the expectation of the community and a comprehensive appreciation of conflict resolution through restorative justice.
In the rebuttal, restorative justice is not applicable on the global scale. The channel is only applicable to offenders who admit to their crime and are ready to face the offended party. In instances where the felon fails to confess to the crime, the arrangement is not applicable. More so, any unwillingness by the victim might deter the system from providing justice for the sufferer as well as the anticipated reconciliation. Restorative justice needs to incorporate a therapy option for both the subject and the culprit. Some of the crimes perpetrated against some of the victims might lead to psychological issues for the affected. According to Postmus (691), an associate professor at Rutgers School of Social Works, a therapy session might be necessary to eliminate the damage and restore the individuals to their former selves. Incorporation of therapy would make the results more efficient for both the sufferer and the suspect.
My support for restorative justice capitalizes on the unity created by the system in the community. Firstly, the population lives in a society with an improved sense of unity and cohesion. One of the effects of crime is the pain inflicted on the victims, which leads to hatred between the involved parties. Therefore, restorative justice offers the two groups an opportunity to restore the broken relationship through the elimination of the pain and suffering inflicted by the transgressor. Secondly, the practice saves numerous funds for the government. The only function of the state in a restorative justice system is the provision of security. The society gets an opportunity to take charge of their problems and offer solutions without exposing the government to unnecessary expenditure. However, both the offended person and the felon might require rehabilitation to eliminate the psychological effect of the crime on them (Postmus 691).
The technique of restorative justice seeks to offer the victims closure through interaction with the offender. The communication helps the two groups to solve the conflict in the most suitable method that is acceptable by both sides. Therefore, the two teams reconcile and overcome the pain caused by the crime. Secondly, restorative justice helps in saving funds for the government since the felon admits to the crime making costly investigations unnecessary. The society uses the approach to communicate the desired qualities in the population unifying the whole nation. The unity makes it hard for the perpetrators to repeat the offense since the entire society keeps a keen eye on them. Therefore, the system is more effective in fighting crime and reversing the pain caused by the suspect to the sufferer However; both parties must be willing to take part in the proceedings for an efficient outcome.
Clamp, Kerry. Restorative Justice in Transition. Routledge, 2016.
Johnstone, Gerry. Restorative Justice : Ideas, Values, Debates. Routledge, 2011.
Postmus, Judy L. Sexual Violence and Abuse : An Encyclopedia of Prevention, Impacts, and Recovery. Abc-Clio, 2013.
Reddy, Peter. Peace Operations and Restorative Justice: Groundwork for Post-Conflict Regeneration. Routledge, 2016.
Schwartz, Martin. Controversies in Critical Criminology. Taylor and Francis, 2014.
Walgrave, L. Repositioning Restorative Justice. Willan, 2003.