Restorative justice is a justice theory that focuses on repairing the harm resulting from the criminal behavior. Conventionally, justice system has concentrated on issuing punishment to the offenders without giving them opportunity to face their crime and apprehend the effects that their actions have caused on the victims. However, restorative justice allows the victims to be included in the process thus concentrating on the offender’s action to the community and the victims (Great Britain, 2008). Therefore, this theory is built to help the offender to have compassion and understanding with the victims and also provide closure to the victims.
Programs and practices that are involved in the restorative process respond to crime in various ways. This ways include identifying and taking measures to repair harm, engaging all the stakeholders, and finally renovating government/community relationship in response to crime. The aim of this philosophy is to bring together the victim, offenders and the community members in a non-adversarial process (Great Britain, 2008). This helps in inspiring the offender responsibility and resolve the harm caused to the victim as a way of repairing the harm caused by their crime.
Restorative justice responses include some kind of “mediation” such as dialoging or conferencing and result into compensation, apologies, community services and reparation. In addition to diversion, restorative justice can be experienced in other stages (Liebmann, 2007). For instance, if a court proves a case, a restorative process can be engaged to determine the sentence. This process can also be used in the detention facilities.
In conclusion, restorative justice promotes competency, public safety and accountability in non-traditional ways. For instance, questions such as who is guilty, what law has been violated and what punishment should be subjected to offender are replaced in the restorative model questions. This questions include what harm has been as a result of crime, how to repair crime and who to be involved in repairing crime (Liebmann, 2007).
Great Britain (2008). Restorative justice. London: Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.
Liebmann, M. (2007). Restorative justice: How it works. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.