It has been said that the emergence of the restorative justice model can be attnbuted to the failure of the traditional justice system model, excessive use of Incarceration, the oveorepresentathan of Aboriginal persons In correctional facilities, and the alienation of victims of crime and the lack of response to their needs. (Roach, 2000: law Commission of Canada. 2003: Hudson, 2003)
Does the restorative justice model successfully address these perceived failures of the tradition& justice model?
In essence, Restorative Justice is a type of an approach to the overall wrongdoing in a society that is grounded on involving victims, offenders, as well as communities in the process of problem-solving which is often aimed at repairing the harm done by the offenders. Consequently, the principle whereby all the stakeholders are involved in the process of finding justice is slowly gaining traction in recent times across the globe. There is various literature that has indicated that Restorative Justice is rather promising as well as effective practice in the corridor of justice, especially within the juvenile’s justice (Acosta & Karp, 2018). Restorative Justice tends to bring those elements responsible by crime or rather those that are responsible for the harm into communication, thus enabling virtually everyone affected by a certain incident to play a significant role by preparing the harm as well as finding a positive solution (Bohmert, Duwe, & Hipple, 2018). Restorative Justice can be undertaken at any stage of the adult criminal justice system. At some stage, it can be considered to form a part of a police out of court disposal including community resolution or rather a conditional caution. Notably, this can be undertaken in case the offender is in the community or even when he or she is in custody.
The main condition of delivering Restorative Justice is known offenders as well as victims, offender’s acceptance and responsibility in a volunteering engagement form all side or all parties. This system often focuses on how the way evidence is gathered rather than what evidence means in a certain investigation. Essentially, the current criminal justice system is thought to have been designed by lawyers, from lawyers and therefore in most cases victims and offenders are left as bystanders in the proceedings. For the last 30 years, there has been the emergence of a restorative justice movement emerged in Canada. Notably, this is considered to be a movement that has been responsible for finding the current system to be inadequate in dealing with various offenders, communities, and victims particularly in the aftermath of crime. In essence, the current justice system is considered to be retributive, whose main objective is to fix the blame as well as guilt. In this restorative justice often emphasizes on the fact that victims should be a rather forgotten entity particularly in the current justice procedure and therefore they should possess a greater role especially in the process of determining the main outcome of their cases.
Furthermore, RJ is not considered to be a program, but rather a way of looking at crime. Compared to the current system, RJ focuses on restoring the overall loses that have been suffered by the victims while holding the offenders accountable for the harm that they have caused to the victims. On the other hand, the system focuses on building peace within the community. In recent times, there has been various litany of justice that has been applying various principles of the RJ. Nonetheless, these programs embrace voluntarily participation of the victims of the offense, members of the community, and the offenders. In most cases, those that have been affected directly can come together with an aim of discussing the overall harm they have caused and thus accepting the responsibility for their actions additionally, wrongdoers are as well encouraged to accept the responsibility for their actions.
Effectiveness of Restorative Justice
There is a various set principle that guides the restorative justice in contemporary society. in this light, the RJ programs are guided by four key values which include the encounter where it creates opportunity for those victims, offenders as well as the community members who want to meet with an aim of discussing the crime and the aftermath of it and the amends where offenders are expected to take various steps in repairing the harm that they have caused to the victims. Additionally, the program is guided by the aspect of reintegration which seeks to restore victims as well as offenders as a whole this contributing to the members of the society and the element of inclusion that gives an opportunity for the parties with a stake in specific crime to participate in its resolution. Some other core principles of the RJ involves the overall recognition that crime is a violation of other people as well as focusing on solving a particular problem related to crime with an aim of creating harmony.
Most of the contemporary criminal punishment is often dominated by the retributive objective of punishment. Notably, the overall traditional penal approach to the crime mostly view the state the main offended party or rather victim of the criminal offense as well as the community as the passive or rather the subsidiary roles (Schiff, 2018). The traditional justice is always set to begging with a focus on an individual who has been harmed criminal behavior. With the overall interaction with the offenders, punitive justice gives victims a voice in which they can express their feelings and therefore give an account of the entire consequences they have gone through.
Retributive justice it corrects a wrong by inducing suffering on someone. For instance, someone who commits a crime will refrain from doing wrong because of the punishment that will result from the suffering. In addition, retributive justice challenges the afflicted parties to find constructive ways to look forward from what “went wrong” in a manner everybody would have a feeling that the present needs are being handled.
Primarily, Laws can either have retributive or restorative goal depending on the event. In modern society, many people think that to restore justice, suffering must be imposed. However, justice can be reinstated if a victim is given an opportunity to explain the real reason for the crime to the offenders (McMahon, Karp, & Mulhern, 2018). There are many instances in all areas of life that shows undesired effects of punishment without the existence of harmonic options with persons who really want it to be.
Some people think that restorative justice is lack of responsibility as they choose to believe that the best way of criminal punishment is through imprisonment (Rye, Hovey, & Waye, 2018). However, when the victim and the offender meet in a supervised environment to talk, it can create an opportunity for the victim and an offender to put an occurrence to rest and grow from it. In addition, restorative justice will ensure elements like guilt, fault, and shame which are the ingredients for another criminal event are put rest as then the necessity of lots of cases are done with.
Principles of Restorative Justice
Retributive justice as a punitive approach seeks will seek to remove people to the society by imprisoning them to penal institutions. When systems seek punitive approach instead of reformative approach will always lead to a continuous cycle of incarceration as the people return again to the penal institution for their repeated criminal activity (Winslade, 2018). Basically, the reformative approach it will prevent the cycle of the incarceration as the people undergo the required rehabilitation to recover from their criminal acts. In addition, it will also reduce the number of people in penal institutions due to the reduced rate in criminal activities.
Economically, restorative justice could save money by minimizing reoffending as it diverts people away from prosecution. The analysis done by the Restoration Justice Council showed that almost £185 million would be distributed to the criminal justice system by the adult offenders over a period of two years. Additionally, to some independent analysts believe that life-saving of almost £275 million to the society if the young offenders could be diverted from community orders to pre-court restorative justice (Kennedy, Tuliao, Flower, Tibbs, & McChargue, 2018).
Restoration justice system has a positive impact on the victim, offender, and society. For instance, the restorative model, which is optional, allows the voice of a victim to be heard as the offenders are incredibly confronted with the impacts of their crime. As a result, it leads to less traumatization of the victims as the made a great step in their recovery from the crime thus leading to a healthy society. Furthermore, restorative justice can also be important too as it advocates the safer and high quality of restorative justice wherever and whenever is required by the criminal justice system.
How Restorative Justice Have Been Practically Developed In Canada
The overall evolution of the restorative justice in Canada has been fairly consistent for a long time now. In fact, the system has been in the Canadian justice system for nearly 30 years and had a rather increasing overall amount of funding by the government as well as policy support since the mid-90s (Ferguson & Chevannes, 2018). Nonetheless, community justice has no doubt been a problematic factor given that it is used in a different way in Canada, while the aspect of national advocacy for a rather restorative justice is less pronounced. In essence, the aspect of restorative justice initially developed in Canada through experimentation (Ferdous, Khan, & Dulal, 2018). According to Gilbert, this was one of the most fundamental experiments that were initiated and was based on the development of victim-offender mediation, particularly in the Elmira, Ontario. Notably, this type of experiment begun at the time when a probation officer, as well as volunteer, decided to take two youths with an aim of meeting their victims and therefore pay their restitution for property damage particularly from vandalism spree (Little, Stewart, & Ryan,2018). The overall initiative of the probation officer and the volunteer to use a different approach altogether led to the spread of mediation between victims and offenders which today are regarded as one of the most fundamental restorative practice in the Canadian society today.
Difference between Traditional Criminal Justice and Restorative Justice
While it is true that many of the concepts making the RJ philosophy originate from the legal discourses of the indigenous people in Canada or rather the Aboriginal around the world, it must be noted that there are critical differences between such systems and the “western approaches”. The development of restorative justice in Canada has given birth to various types of restorative justice programs. In this light, most of the programs belonging to the restorative justice in Canada have virtually common elements (Woolford & Benvenuto, 2018). Essentially, most of this program requires a rather volunteering participation of the offender and that individuals have to take responsibility for their actions. On the other hand, there is another participation that requires the overall participation of victims. It is as ell important to understand that there are other programs that can take place at different levels or rather stages of the criminal justice procedures (Gavrielides, 2018). Canada is among the countries that have implemented the restorative justice system for young offenders. The aspect of youth crime and how people deal with criminal occurrences among the youth has become a contentious issue in the Canadian justice system (Payne & Welch, 2018). The initiative to involve the restorative system towards the youth was as a result of the fact that Canada was among the country that imprisoned more youth compared to any western countries including the United States (Eaton, 2018). Consequently, this had turned out to be problematic among the Canadian youth as well as citizens around the criminal justice system who believe that the youth deserved to be treated well. In this light, there has been a strong movement towards the application of restorative justice system towards the youth. However, most of the restorative programs for the youth are available for first-time offenders and non-violent offenders
Primarily, there are various restorative programs that were set for both adult and youth in the Canadian justice system. Some the common structured programs include the 4 national programs, 15 programs in Ontario, 4 in Nova Scotia/PEI, 3 in the Yukon, 30 in British Columbia, 8 programs in Alberta, 4 in Newfoundland/Quebec, 1 in the Northwest Territories, 1 in Nunavut/Yukon, and 2 two programs in Manitoba/Saskatchewan (Boyes-Watson, 2018). The Canadian authority ensures that a good restorative justice programs have well-trained facilitators who are considered sensitive tot eh overall needs of victims.
In conclusion, while there are still the existence of some elements of punitive or rather the retributive measures in the justice system, the implementations of the restorative system has been overwhelmingly received. Canada is among the western countries that have embraced the values of restorative justice for nearly 30 years. As a result, the country has in a huge way benefited from the system especially through involving both the offenders as well as the victims in the restoration process. While there are various justice systems that have proved to be critical, restorative justice system remains to be among the best programs around.
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