Society’s Response to Justice
Society’s Response to Justice
The concept of restorative justice is increasing internationally as amovement towards involved, transformative justice that emphasizes onthe correction of harm and the re-establishment of damagedrelationships between individuals and within societies. It functionsdifferently from the retributive justice methods that pay attentionto the breaking of laws and the exercising of the state power topunish and deter the offenders. Restorative justice uses aparticipatory approach that complements the law while alsomaintaining the victims and other affected parties in an integralpart within the system. The use restorative justice is increasing asalternative measures for justice in the US as well as many othercountries across the world. While the proposers of this method arguethat it ought to be used more widely than they are presently, othersremain cynical that restorative justice can be an important componentof an all-inclusive justice system. Although restorative programsexist in many Canadian and American communities and elsewhere, somemaintain that there is only a restricted embracement of thisalternative reaction to crime. The main reason for this may be thefailure to appreciate the contribution of restorative justice inreducing further offenses as compared to the other approaches for aparticular group of offenders. The values of restorative justicepromote the needs of the offenders and are founded on principles ofaccountability and responsibility to others for an individual’sactions as well as the need to patch-up the harm whenever a crime iscommitted ("Contemporary Justice Review Issues in Criminal,Social and Restorative Justice", 2012).
Restorative justice programs, like community impact panels andoffender-victim mediation, are much more effective in loweringrecidivism rates as compared to the normal court proceedings. Thisform of approach to justice is even much more effective in juvenileoffenders. Research shows that it not only reduces recidivism ascompared to court processing but also puts forward that each type ofrestorative justice involvement, even those with limitedintervention, lowers recidivism risk relative to court dispensations.Considering this, it is possible to use intensive restorativeprograms and receive rewarding outcomes.
The majority of the crime victims feel that the criminal justicesystem does not give them a proper chance for involvement, butrestorative justice puts them at the center of the justice process.According to a research conducted by the government, eighty-fivepercent of crime victims who participate in the restorative justiceprocess find it to be very supportive. For many of them, meeting withthe individuals who has harmed them can be a big step in theirjourney of recovery from the crime. It also helps a lot in crimereduction. Research indicates that it cuts reoffending by fourteenpercent. It is also important to note that restorative justice ispotentially applicable for any type of crime. It can be helpful tovictims of low-level crimes as well as those who have experiencedserious crimes. However, there are some crimes which can bechallenging to the process, such as domestic violence, hate crime,and sexual offenses (Tyler, 2013). Nevertheless, restorativeprocesses can still be supportive of victims of these crimes.
A big issue affecting nations around the world is the rising numberof people locked away in jails and prisons. Although the numbersdecreased in the US recently, the figures are still high. Recidivismby offenders is a major contributor to these rising number of peoplein jails. This raises the question of procedural justice in loweringrecidivism. Research has shown that the effectiveness of proceduraljustice or moral justice, mostly known as perceived fairness, isachievement submission from the population with respect to police andcourts. In the present world it is evident that irrespective of thetype of retribution given to offenders, there seems to be no shortageof people entering to prisons. This is about the matter ofapplicability of the justice. The traditional justice system gives ablanket application centered on an offense and is seen on a socialbasis as being destructive. Because of this, the process in whichboth the victims and offenders are handled during these casesintegrally restricts their participation and thus their restoration.According to Tyler (2013), fear of forced adherence and punishmentare the major approaches employed to expedite justice, prevent crime,and reduce crime relapse. Regrettably, this approach triggers someresistance, mainly in those people who have previously shown somelevel of disrespect for the law and authority. Tyler (2013) furtherreports that although there exist some connection between retributivejustice and re-offense, its relevance is steadily small. Using thisdegree, it appears that this approach represents an outdated form ofjustice.
Understanding and expanding of human behavior is a more effectiveapproach of curbing crime and recidivism. The approach is based on acustomized affectation regarding the offender. Morality, at apersonal level, should also be seen as a social value for creating ajustice system. An individual has an inner motivation to pursuepersonal morality, and when strayed creates a feeling of guiltinessconcerning the action. This becomes a motivation for complying withthe inner drive in the future. However, its relevance is theacceptability of the laws by the social standards. Moral justice needto complement the sensitivities as well as moral values of thesocietal structure it exists, and it is very effective for lowprofile cases and especially in young offenders (Alberts, 2012).
In order to understand more of crime and punishment, criminologistshave tried to find answers for the questions of why do people commitcrime, and what makes criminals different from others. Psychologicaltheories of crime tries to provide these answers. The theories saythat the criminal behavior comes about as a result of personaldifferences in their processes of thinking. There are severaldifferent theories but they all agree that it is the feelings andthoughts of a person that eventually dictate their actions. Byputting into consideration the arguments presented by these theories,restorative justice is considered to be the most beneficial inlowering recidivism. The theories of restorative justice are closelyrelated to those presented by the psychological theories. Forinstance, it aims at the reversal of moral disintegration, which is amoral-psychological theory because it is concerned with thepsychology of an individual in relation to right and wrong. It isassumed that re-engaging the morals plays a significant role in therestorative process, and it starts with appreciating the fact thatpeople engage in activities that harm others as a result of innermoral disintegration. Psychologists have identified themoral-psychological means of disengagement, which are also highlysignificant in predicting and explaining the effectiveness of justiceapproaches. For example explaining and predicting the power oftransformation of a properly run restorative process.
Psychologists have identified that there are two processes that takesplace closely in a restorative justice approach, which are theemotional and psychological healing. The process of psychologicalreparation is intrinsic, invisible, and it encompasses gestures andexpression of remorse, forgiveness, respect, and courtesy. The basicsequence, comprising of the apology by the offender and theforgiveness of the offended, is crucial to resolution, victimsatisfaction, and reducing recidivism. It is the happening of thevital sequence, facilitated by restorative justice that brings aboutrepair and restoration of the relation between the offender and thevictim. Without this important sequence, the road to settlement isstrewn with obstacles such that whatever settlement attained does notreduce the tension level and leaves both parties with feelings ofuncertainty and dissatisfaction. Therefore, it is important to givepsychological healing at least parity with emotional or materialsettlement. If this is not done, the restorative process may turn outto be the same or slightly better than the court processes.Psychological reparation is the most important component thatdifferentiates restorative justice from all other forms of crimecontrol approaches. As earlier discussed, restorative justice is bestsuitable for low-level crimes although it can also be used in alltypes of crimes ("Contemporary Justice Review Issues inCriminal, Social and Restorative Justice," 2012). However, somecrimes pose a serious challenge for this form and are best handled byother forms of justice such as the court process.
Alberts, K. J. (2012). Interpersonal Effectiveness. Chicago: ArgosyUniversity.
Contemporary Justice Review Issues in Criminal, Social andRestorative Justice. (2012). Contemporary Justice Review, 15(4).
Tyler, T. (2013). Restorative Justice and Procedural Justice: Dealingwith Rule Breaking. Journal Of Social Issues, 62(2),307-326.