Restorative Justice Response

Restorative Justice is based on the suspect or criminal admitting to their criminal actions, providing restitution and performing some type of sentence and community service, to show not only that they acted inappropriately, but that they are not ready to be part of the community in a positive way.  When deciding as to whether this type of program is useful, let alone successful, there are many factors that need to be considered.  The following are some of those questions that need to be answered, but it is not all encompassing, and the concept of restorative justice needs much more investigation to see how well it really works.

Is restorative justice consistent with policing orientations toward victims, offenders and communities
The restorative justice programs are consistent with the policing orientations of the offenders, but not so much the victims and communities.  The concept of restorative justice, while in theory would make the offender pay through confinement, probation, and or community service it would seem that the victims rights were not only violated by the offender but by the jurisdiction as well.  If the offender admits to his crime and is given a lenient sentence or the admission to a rehabilitative program, then the victim may feel that the system let them down.  It is also obvious that the offender may be put back into the community without any real repercussions on hisher actions.  In this sense, restorative justice is not consistent with policing orientations toward, the victims, offenders, and community.  It tends to be biased on the side of the offender.

What roles do you think the police should play in restorative justice programs
Within this program the police should play the role of authority in which they currently serve.  There is no difference in the way the police function in a traditional or a restorative justice program.  The authority is not just to react to crime, but also to work proactively with the community to help deter crime.  When a crime does occur and the police respond reactively, they must focus on the care of the victim, but also on the rights of the suspect to ensure that they do not overstep their bounds and create a conflict in the procedure that can ruin the case for the jurisdiction.

Does the restorative justice movement overlap with the victims rights movement
No the restorative justice movement does not overlap with the victims rights movement.  This is because the restorative justice programs view the offender as part of the community.  Therefore the victim is not viewed as much as a victim, but as the offended party that the suspect or offender has harmed and needs to be given an apology.  In some cases, the courts make the offender work off their restitution by working for the victim.  In any case, this would not be beneficial to the victim, but will possible put the victim within a similar predicament as to the occasion of the crime.  To have a first time shoplifting offender, work in the store from which they stole, is only giving them access to steal more.  The victims rights are infringed upon to try to be more community oriented in the rehabilitation or in the forgiveness of the remorse offender.   However, the question remains as to whether the offender is really sorry for their actions or if they are playing system.

Based on the reading, I would have to say that I do not agree that restorative justice is the proper program in many cases of crime.  While it is probably most beneficial in the juvenile system, the actions of the adult offenders are less likely to be single offenses.  The recidivism rate for adult offenders is much higher than on those juvenile offenders that can get a clean break and learn a trade, or such in a restorative justice program.  The one good thing that I found was the fact that the restorative justice programs did not want to do away with trials for those that plead not guilty, but I do believe that it should be used sparingly with the adult offenders who say they are guilty and are sorry for their actions.  It is these offenders that will bring the restorative programs to their knees and prove the critics right in their inefficiency.


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