Procedural And Restorative Justices Changing Jail Time.

1688 words - 7 pages

As offenders are getting released from their prison and re-integrating into the community, the issue at hand now is how the judicial branch and/or community can keep them from reentering the correction system. This re-entry issue may be the effect of society labeling offenders as “dangerous individuals,” once they have committed a crime. In the criminal justice system, the focus is publicizing the criminals’ wrongdoings and punishing those behaviors. The defendants’ crime is then spread throughout the community from attorneys to the courts then to the media. As a result of this spreading, people’s attitudes change towards the offenders--treating them like they are not human--and people start to distance themselves from the offenders making them feel like outcasts in their communities. This societal isolation caused by labeling can result in re-entry.

Classical theory of labeling suggests that formal societal reaction to crime can be the cause of the development of one’s criminal career; however, modern theorists have predicted that several different processes cause the involvement of offenders in crime and deviance to increase. [1] Base on these theories, in recent years, the procedural and restorative justice approaches have been working on demolishing the stigma associated with offenders. Procedural justice is the process of making and implementing fair decisions, so parties involved in the matter can feel affirmed with the outcomes, [2] while Restorative justice is a process where all the stakeholders (victim, offenders, and community) affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm. [3] Studies from the procedural justice and restorative justice approaches have shown that when criminals are treated like human beings and with respect they are less likely to be repeat offenders.

[INCORPORATED TAYLOR’S RESEARCH HERE]The effect of labeling can be seen in the attorney-offender relationship. Currently, prosecutors are less likely than defense attorneys to refer to defendants by their name; instead, they rather the term defendant. [1] By labeling or calling the client “defendant,” attorneys have depersonalized their client. Although this does serve to help define the defendant in the courtroom, personalizing the defendant by using his or her name may have benefits in compliance with court orders. The mechanism by which this additional compliance could occur is in how defendants view the fairness of both the decision-making process and their treatment in court. This concept of legitimacy and fair-treatment is procedural justice.

There are five primary influencers on the perception of procedural justice: [2]

Voice- litigants can express views and believe that court actors understood those views.

Respect- litigant perceive that they have the respect of court actors.

Neutrality- the decision-making process is unbiased and transparent.


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