Concept and Purpose of Restorative Justice and Restitution


Restorative justice focuses on healing wounds of victims, restoring law-abiding lives of offenders, and repairing harm made to community and interpersonal associations. It focuses on engaging all stakeholders and offer chances for those most impacted by the crime to be involved directly in the process of retorting to the caused harm. The restorative justice central evidence is that offenders, victims, and the impacted community are all main stakeholders in the process of restoration. In this victims consist of individuals that are directly impacted by the offense, as well as the impacted community and family members (Young, n.d.). This paper focuses on evaluating the restorative justice and its significance to the victims and offenders.

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Concept and Purpose of Restorative Justice and Restitution

Restorative justice acts as a healing process for the victims of a crime and a repentance process for the offender. It is a concept that makes the offender understands that the community and the victim have been hurt and require restoration. The concept creates liabilities and obligations in a crime where the obligations of offenders are to make things right and amend for their past mistakes. The obligations community to the victims is to assist them to attain their needs. Similarly the community has the obligation to assist the offender to fit in community and to regain their morals in the society. Restorative justice focuses on healing and separating wrongs and rights (Burgess & Cast, 2003).

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The basic objective of restorative justice is to address needs of victims which include social, emotional, financial, and material. Handling these requirements and he community requirements is essential if public demand for capital punishment are to be quelled. In this regard, it is assumed that violations or crimes are committed against actual individuals, instead of the state.  Therefore, restorative justice advocates for victim restitution by the offender instead of state retribution against the offender. Rather that escalating and continuing the violence cycle, it attempts to stop the violence and reinstate relationships. The process of restorative justice also focuses on empowering victims to take part efficiently in mediation or dialogue with offender. Victims assume an active role in guiding the exchange which takes place and describing the obligation and responsibility of offenders (National Institute of Justice, 2007).

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Similarly, offenders are also encouraged to take part in this exchange, to comprehend the harm they instigated to victims, and to assume active responsibility for it. This implies making personal efforts to make things right, to make compensations for their violations by obligating to particular roles which might come in form of   community work, restitution, or reparations. Although fulfilling these roles might be considered painful, the aim is not to revenge but to restore healthy associations between persons and in communities which have been impacted most by the crime. In this case, restorative justice will serve in assisting victims to understand what transpired so as to come in term with the loss. Restorative justice will help in answering a number of questions the victims have. It will also assist the offender to seek forgiveness before execution and thus, enabling him to die in peace (Young, n.d.).

Ethical Issues Related to Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is basically employed to restore peace and harmony in a community by enhancing the relation between the victim and the offender. The main ethical issues surrounding the restorative justice is that the willingness of the respondent to take part in restorative justice. Basically none of the respondents can be force into taking part into this process since the offender is specifically anticipated to be truthful and ready to answer all questions from the victims and the community. In addition, victims are required to be well composed and not to be influenced by emotions. Therefore, a voluntary participation is highly needed in this process. Another ethical issue is the harm the confession can cause to the victim and the community ability to accept the confession and to forgive the offender. Basically, cases in the court of law are never judged based on the offender confession but on the court verdict. A confession may not be taken lightly by the community as well as the victims and thus, it need to be effectively facilitated and retaliated by equivalent judgment to avoid weird community reaction which may be violent too (Wechsler, 2013).

Restorative Justice Implications

Restorative justice is basically aimed at restoring peace and harmony. It helps in facilitating healing of the victims and remolding of the offender. Restorative justice can highly impact the healing process of the victims by having full information of what happened and answering a number of questions regarding why it happened, why the victim was selected, and the offender’s intention of committing the crimes. This may help the victims to understand and accept what transpired. The satisfaction of the offender remorsefulness and suffering for the crime may also assist in healing (Menkel-Meadow, 2007). In this murder case, the offender is already convicted and thus, he will pay for his crimes either way. Therefore, victims’ aggression may not be there since they are satisfied with the court judgment. Therefore, this may be anticipated to be a peaceful meeting. Moreover, the offender is already remorseful and thus, willing to speak. Victims also have the desire to know the entire truth and to have answers for their questions. Thus, this meeting will be healing and helpful to both the offender and victims and thus it should be facilitated.

Description of the Decision-Making Process

Decision to allow or not to allow restorative justice involves a number of processes. The first step involves evaluating the crime committed and its consequences. The second step involves establishing the stage of the case in the judicial system. The third stage involves evaluating the willingness of the offender and the victims to take part in the restorative justice process. This evaluation will determine the decision of whether to have or not to have a restorative justice. If permission is granted the possible lists of questions include: why did you choose the victim? What was your motive? Do you know the harm you caused? Do you regret your mistake? What would you do to show your repentance?  The restoration justice on the other hand can be rejected based on sensitivity of the case, respondent unwillingness to be involved in this process, the stage of the case in the judicial system, and the victims healing stage (Burgess & Cast, 2003).

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