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Restorative And Community Justice Essay

1103 words - 4 pages

What is restorative justice?Restorative justice emphasizes the ways in which crimes hurt relationships between people who live in a community. Restorative justice is "designed to provide the context for ensuring that social rather than legal goals are met."1 Within the process of restorative justice there are three major goals: victim involvement, offender accountability, and community protection. The offender becomes accountable to those they have harmed both directly and indirectly. Restorative justice involves community agencies, police, numerous community members, schools, etc. to open up communication between organizations and people and strengthen the bonds within the community. Restorative justice is an alternative to corrections for non-violent offenders and offers them a second chance. These non-violent offenders would work in closely monitored community projects and provide some form of restitution to their victims. Restorative justice also helps communities build their sense of safety by having community members be active in the peacemaking process.What are the advantages of the restorative approach?I feel that there are numerous advantages of the restorative approach. The most important of all is for all parties to come to an agreement to repair the relations that have been damaged due to the crime and holding the offender accountable for their actions. This process is completed and is quite successful through various community programs. Some of these community programs include: sentencing circles, family group conferences, community self-help groups (eg. MADD), and victim/offender mediation programs. Sentencing circles get everyone involved and the plan for repairing the harm almost always includes a community-based solution. Family group conferences allows the victim, the offender, and their family and friends to talk about how the crime has affected their lives. All the other programs mentioned are the same, as the two above, in which it gives the victim, the offender and the families the opportunity to voice their feelings and concerns. These types of programs also allow the offender to have a second chance and is an alternative to going through the criminal justice system. Some other positive outcomes of the restorative approach are: victims are given the opportunity for their input and involvement, numerous services are available for the victims, connections among community members become stronger, the offender is involved in the repair of the harm they have inflicted, increases the skills and abilities of the offender's, and the community is involved in making decisions and the planning for healing and restorative justice activities. Through these types of diversion programs, the primary objective is "keeping offenders from being processed further into the formal criminal justice system."2 A positive outcome from these diversion programs is that recidivism rates seem to be much lower, whereas if the offender were to be...

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