Good Research Paper On Restorative Justice
Restoration justice is one of the two modern systems of justice that is slowly replacing the traditional justice system way of punishment. Questions were raised to see if restorative justice is a true alternative to punishment, if it responds well to the requirements of justice, and what its proponents say about who has the right to punish. The paper shows that, more often than not, it appears to be superior to the traditional because it focuses on rehabilitation and correction the offender by the use of reintegrative shaming. Further, after many deliberations, it was found that it responds well to justice requirement. Finally, unlike the traditional justice, restorative justice uses mediators (an individual selected by the two) who sit in place of the judge and his or her work is to give judgment on the cases after hearing it. For that reason, this form of punishment is more successful compared the traditional punishment way because the offender is corrected and rehabilitated in the same society he wronged.
For ages, the issue of restorative justice has been a cause of disagreement with the common law of justice. Various arguments have come up either in support or against restorative justice. To others, the restorative law is seen as an alternative to the normal punishment, but more questions have been raised about this type of justice. Restorative Justice is one of the two alternative approaches to criminal justice that has been on the rise in recent times. It deals with the victims, offenders, as well as the community’s needs. Parties involved in this setting of criminal justice each take an active role in settling the matter in the simplest and most satisfactory manner there is in the dispute.
The offenders in the dispute are encouraged to take full responsibilities for the action thus repairing the harm or pain caused to their victims. These responsibilities may either be returning the goods or monies stolen, apologizing or at times given hours of community service depending on the crime done (Dandurand and Griffiths 2006). In most cases, restorative justice focuses on adjudication and resolution of cases in the society. A literature review was conducted on current relevant research on the topic of restorative justice theory, which seeks not to punish, but rather to repair damages caused thus reintegrate the offender into the community. This research investigated whether the aim of this form of justice created hope, healing and meaning to petty issues that warrant jail or seeking punishment alone (Hudson n.d.).
The difference in both the traditional and the restorative justice system is shown in a number of ways. For instance, the proponents of the traditional justice system perceive crime as law violation but the restorative justice proponents see crime as a violation of the relationship between individuals (Westerholm 2013). Further, traditional criminal justice maintains that in order to attain justice, the state needs to determine the blame thus impose punishment. However, their counterparts see it as a means to put things right (Bottoms n.d). Lastly, traditionalist criminal theorists’ focus on what an offender deserves while their counterparts look at the victim needs and what the defender can do to repair damages caused. This paper seeks to find out if restorative justice is a true alternative to punishment, if it responds well to the requirements of justice, and who has the right to punish in this system.
Findings and discussions
The results of this research showed that a number of issues have to be fully understood by using the following questions:
1. Who should be punished and what is the reason for punishment?
2. How much punishment is punishment enough?
3. Does it respond well to the requirements of justice?
4. What does the philosophy of restorative justice offer to the question of who has the right to punish and if restorative justice is praised, does it have a potential to minimize crime?
What is the reason for punishment and who should be punished?
The greatest result for the restorative justice was that the system gives a balance when dealing with offenders and the consequences they face. Out rightly, the reason for punishment is to correct and to rehabilitate. Thus, punishment is a means to stops others who may intend to break the law. Consequently, retributivists claim punishment should not be motivated by a social goal (Lacey 2012). Anything that befalls an offender should be concerned with these individual as ends with himself or herself thus; they have already chosen their actions. Further, retributivism claims that these individuals have willed their punishment by breaking the law. However, the matter differs because the argument is hollow and that the statement invokes the autonomy argument at the highest-level possible (Lacey 2012). The issue should look at whose interests are satisfied when the punishment is given to the offender, however, that is not a concern to the utilitarianism (Lacey 2012).
On matters of who should be punished, the investigation found out that, “There seems to be no reason in principle why it should be the offender who is used as a means of several of the utilitarian goals” (Lacey 2012, p. 40). For that reason, utilitarianism lacks the necessity to answer who is to be punished. The concept of punishing the defendant entails the use of a judge, prosecutor, or a legislature and evidence that is seen as substantial (Robinson and Shapland, 2007). In other cases, ‘suspects’ are brought into the picture and used as scapegoats and, as a result, they are punished for crimes, not committed (Hudson n.d). Punishment, however, should be done to offenders and not the innocent. For that reason, when an innocent individual is punished wrongly then the act is said to contradict the norm (Lacey 2012).
How much punishment is punishment enough?
Utilitarianism cannot satisfactorily give reason to what is enough punishment and what is not in any case. In most cases, it is often urged that when rehabilitating, anything that plays the part including surgery or therapy can be justified as enough punishment (Lacey 2012). For that reason, one would state that utilitarianism might justify the death penalty given the severity of a trial crime to scare individuals from committing such wrongdoings. Thus, the heavier the punishment for a crime conducted the better for the utilitarian because; the penalty is meant to scare potential offenders away from the wrongdoing (Lacey 2012).
Does it respond well to the requirements of justice?
This particular question lies solely on the principle understanding of the traditional justice system and the restorative justice. It focuses on the issues that need restoration such as property loss, sense of dignity, harmony, and the sense of employment (Bottoms n.d). Restorative justice at this point argues that the requirement is to rehabilitate and not to abolish. For this reason, even though, restorative justice does not respond well with justice, most of the time it will be a better punishment approach than the traditional system. Thus, the introduction of reintegrative shaming into the picture as a means to show how much is enough punishment (Bottom n.d).
What does the philosophy of restorative justice offer to the question of who has the right to punish and if restorative justice is praised, does it have a potential to minimize crime?
Whenever there is a restorative case, the mediator or the person listening to the cases has the right to punish given that the parties involved agree concerning the individual(s). In Australia, the magistrate has the ultimate power in giving the sentence (Australia 2009). However, there presence of a respected indigenous person(s) who is mostly an elder is a must. His presence also plays a significant role in the verdict by the magistrate. However, his role varies with the jurisdiction of the area in which the crime was carried out. In most areas, the elder is of the same sex as the offender (Australia 2009). The work of these mediators is to hold offenders accountable for the mistakes or crimes done and further encourage the offender to take responsibility for the crime conducted. Consequently, this enhances the quality of the justice that given to both parties. Therefore, restorative justice has a potential to minimize crime, however, not in all cases because other individuals perceive the punishment as a walkover so they indulge in criminal affairs (Robinson and Shapland, 2007).
Implications and recommendation
This investigation concluded that this type of criminal justice approach came into existence after individuals felt unsatisfied with the way things were run in the traditional criminal justice way. Abolitionist theorists argue that human beings seek to abolish offenders rather than reform them, which makes them see restorative justice as the alternative punishment. To them, the traditional justice way focused on penalizing a wrongdoer (defendant) as a form of punishment thus stopping him or her from future intended crimes. However, restorative justice as the name implies to them means restoring the victims and the defendants to a pre-crime condition (Schickore and Steinle 2006). Consequently, it is recommended that cases that can be solved using this means should be clear to the society. For instance, issues such as murder, rape, and crimes against humanity should be left to matters of state than matters of the society.
There are many advantages of embracing this form of punishment in the society with the first one being, both parties getting satisfaction to the ruling given. Secondly, this type of punishment brings unity and reduces the chances of the society feeling of being governed by rules but rather by what is right and what is wrong. Further, given the ever-rising number of inmates in our jails, and the few numbers of rehabilitation centers all over the world, it is advisable that the society embrace this form of punishment.
Australia institute of criminology: Indigenous courts and justice practices in Australia 2015, viewed 11 Feb. 2015,
Bottoms, A. (n.d.) Some Sociological Reflections on Restorative Justice
Dandurand, Y. and Griffiths, C. (2006). Handbook on restorative justice programmes. New York: United Nations.
Hudson, B. (n.d.) Punishment and Control
Lacey, N (2012). State Punishment, Routledge
Ministry of justice, (n.d) Restorative justice. NZ. Available at: http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/criminal-justice/restorative-justice accessed on 10 Feb 2015
Robinson, G. and Shapland, J. (2007). Reducing Recidivism: A Task for Restorative Justice?. British Journal of Criminology, 48(3), pp.337-358.
Schickore, J. and Steinle, F. (2006). Revisiting Discovery and Justification. [New York]: Springer.
Westerholm, S. (2013) Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking A Pauline Theme
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