Restorative justice asks fundamentally different questions, and is based on a different set of assumptions, than the current criminal justice paradigm (Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, n.d.). The most notable and important difference between the current criminal justice paradigm and the restorative justice paradigm is that restorative justice does not focus on the punishment and does not advocate a punitive criminal justice system. Instead, the restorative justice model is based on several different points of views including how to repair harm. Restorative justice is solution-focused and also victim-centric in its approach to criminal justice. The National Institute of Justice (2007) describes restorative justice as being “grounded in community involvement,” which places a considerable degree of responsibility upon the members of the community in addition to the victims. As the Insight Prison Project (2017) puts it, restorative justice is “a philosophy and a social movement which provides an entirely different way of thinking about crime and victimization,” (p. 1). Restorative justice is similar to the rehabilitation model in that it recognizes the potential for an offender to reform and change his or her behavior. Yet restorative justice goes beyond the basic principles of rehabilitation to also focus on repairing the harm done to victim and community.
Restorative justice seeks to remedy the anomie that breeds some types of criminal behaviors. Advocates of restorative justice view crime “as a breakdown of society and human relationships and attempts to mend these relationships,” (iinsight Prison Project, 2017). According to Crawford & Newburn (2011), there are four primary components of restorative justice including encounter, reparation, reintegration, and participation. Each of these critical elements of restorative justice are integral to the effectiveness of the different models used in the criminal justice system. There are five main responses to crime in the restorative justice model: invitation to the community for consensus-building and full participation; healing “what has been broken;” seeking “full and direct accountability;” reunite “what has been divided;” and strengthening the community “to prevent further harms,”...
Because the Mahoney (2011) article focuses on nonviolent youth crime like shoplifting, it is important to focus on which of these five restorative justice methods or programs might work best.
Ultimately, the restorative justice program should focus on the needs of the community. The National Institute of Justice (2007) states, “a restorative response to crime is a community-building response,” (p. 1). How restorative justice programs might work depends on the structure of the community, its cultural composition, its cohesion, and the type of crime. Other considerations include the perpetrator’s background, the victim’s background, and also the relationship between the victim and perpetrator. Examples of successful restorative justice programs targeted specifically toward youth include the Oakland Unified School District’s program, the Ypsilanti High School program, and the Glenview Elementary School (Davis, 2015). What each of these programs share in common, besides their focus on youth violations, is the creation of a group process. The group processes can be small or large groups in which all persons are welcome to share their opinions, thoughts, and feelings. All three of the programs refer to the image of a community “circle,” indicating that all members of the community have equal status when participating in the process of restorative justice. A circle is inclusive, and it is also flexible, allowing for large or small groups to collaborate about possible solutions and deliberate over how to address the root causes of crime in their community. The conversation ideally provides evidence related to the sociological problems like poverty, anomie, or racism that might be linked to crime proliferation.
Furthermore, restorative justice programs using a circle model are helpful for instilling favorable values in young people. If restorative justice programs include circle conversations, they can refute what Mahoney (2011) assumes about young people lacking values. It is not the young people that are the problem; it is the adults that promote anomie and a lack of trust in the community. Restorative justice is crucial for youth, as its goal is “to bring students together in peer-mediated small groups to talk, ask questions, and air their grievances,” (Davis, 2013). The results of restorative justice programs like healing circles include building new social networks and empowering all members of the community. Law enforcement is always involved, learning from the community circles about their roles and responsibilities. As Mahoney (2011) point out, the current criminal justice model conceives of unduly harsh penalties for teen shoplifting. Because shoplifting is a relatively common crime costing the community money, “retailers…
Restorative Justice The purpose of this article was to show that restorative justice is significantly more satisfying as compared to courts for both offenders and victims. This was achieved with a randomized experimental design known as Reintergrative Shaming Experiments RISE. This project is used to compare the effects of standard court processing with those of restorative justice intervention known as conferencing. In the article, the RISE data is used to examine
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