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Running Ahead: Restorative Justice 1

Restorative Justice

Astarea Lewis

CJS/251

July 9, 2018

Sylvia Beaver
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Restorative Justice

This paper will explain the process of restorative justice and why it is used in the criminal

justice system. An investigation on how the crime can beyond the immediate victim(S) and how

the restorative justice process differs from contemporary criminal justice processes will be

further examined. This paper will further explain how the restorative justice process benefits the

offender, victims, and the community.

The Process of restorative justice focuses on all involve parties of a crime. This includes

all affected or harmed such as victims, offenders, families, and community members. Restorative

justice identifies harms, needs and obligations through accepting responsibility, restitution, and

prevention. Restorative views crimes against victims then focuses on repairing all the harm

endured by the victim. Restorative justice can be applied at any stage in the criminal justice

process, Pre-charge, pretrial, post charge, after conviction, and post sentence. Restorative justice

has many benefits to the approach of justice such as preventing reoffending, victim

empowerment, and enhancing community involvement in the resolution process. Restorative

justice is used by our criminal justice system to make things right involving the victim, the

offender, and the community. Solutions that promote repair, reassurance, and reconciliation are

the main goals. Restorative Justice has three approaches or concepts to problem solving. These

concepts focus on when crime occurs, harm inflicted on the people and involved relationships.

Restorative justice creates liabilities and obligations for harm done and aims to heal the imposed

harm. In 2014, the state of Massachusetts brought victims and offenders together in a two-day

program for the purpose to make things right. The inmates at Norfolk Prison discussed horrifying

passed criminal acts with the hopes of making thing “more right”. The main goal of this program

was for offenders to acknowledge and take responsibility for the impacts that their actions had on
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their victims, their family also the victim’s family as well. The victims had the opportunity to ask

questions and share how the crimes impacted their lives. (Hernandez, July 9, 2014).

The damage of crime can be extensive to not only victims but also loved ones of both the

victim and defendant, offender, economy and the community. Crime can have impacts on the

very fabric of the community as citizens may have elevated fears of strangers and because of the

fear, alienate themselves from the community. Crime affects local businesses and housing

markets tremendously. Crime can have multiple but different effects on victims. Victims of

crime may experience shock, problem with sleep including fatigue, guilt, fear, anger, and sadness

just to name a few. Daily struggles for victims may include, feelings of loss of control, problem

with memory, concentration, and focus. These effects can be temporary and with the help and

guidance of family and advocacy groups, these few may resolve in a few weeks but can last

longer depending on the individual. Victims who participated in restorative interventions were

less angry and experience of less fear, as a result were able to move on with life successfully.

Impacts for offenders is gaining more knowledge on how their crime affected the victim.

Restorative justice has the potential to reduce future offending, assist in community rebuilding,

and strengthen problem solving capacity for the community.

Restorative justice differs from contemporary criminal justice because it focuses on the

parties involved which are the victim, offender and the community. three elements that make up

the restorative justice process are mutual voluntary consent to participate, meeting in a mediated

setting, and following through with agreements. The victim and the offender must be willing

meet on their own accord. Expectations are explained through a mediator. Through a mediator,

the offender will give his account on events of the crime while expressing remorse to the victim.

The offender will discuss solutions to the victim on how to make his wrongdoing right to the
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victim and community. Discussed solutions include community service, restitution, and an

apology. Potential participants in this meeting may include victim’s family and victim. The

agreement must be favorable to all parties to become valid, at this point the meeting is arranged.

Standard victim offender mediations will only solicit for the offender, victim, and the mediator to

be present at the meeting. Community justice conference are other restorative processes efforts

that support both sides of the crime and includes counselors, social workers pastors, and the

community. At this point a written agreement is then signed by both parties. If the agreement is

not met by the offender, then a follow up step is added and asks for an offender to return to

discuss reason for agreement violations. If the offender breaches his agreement, then his case is

then referred to the justice system. Sixty five percent agreements are met. Participant satisfaction

is measured at ninety percent. Restorative justice allows for the victim to gain closure to the

crime committed against them and hopes that closure is gained as a result. The offender is

allowed the opportunity to take responsibility, accountability, and they are successfully

reintegrated into the community when all conditions are met.

The restorative justice process helps the offender by giving them tools to lessen

reoffending. Rea search studies done across the country from 2001 until 2005, showed a

reduction in re-offenses. For Victims, they experience a sense of healing. They are also allowed

to join in the justice system to make the offender accountable and gain retribution or

compensation for committed crime. The community experienced a cost savings as a result of

restorative programs.
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References

Hernandez, R. (July 9, 2014). After a Crime is Committed, This Community Program Helps Inmates

and Victims Move Forward. Retrieved from http://nationswell.com/restorative-justice-

program-inmates-victims-rehabilitate-reduce-recidivism/

Benefits of Restorative Justice to Victims, Offender, Communities (n.d.). Retrieved from

https://associations.missouristate.edu/assets/morjc/Benefits_of_RJ_Victims_Offender_Com

munity.pdf