Respond by Day 5 suggesting additional steps that might be effective in bringing about necessary changes in individual and group viewpoints and behaviors.
Respond to Joshua as if you’re having a conversation with him. A few sentences and a question.
Restorative Justice differs from traditional ways of treating offenders and crime victims
because the focus is not on punishing offenders. Restorative Justice focuses on the importance of
reform and restoration. Restoration is a modern sentencing alternative that focuses on the
importance of healing the pain brought on by crime rather than deterring future crimes through
punishment (Schmalleger & Smykla, 2009). Restorative Justice is a response to crime that
focuses on healing the wounds of victims, offenders, and communities. The importance of
restoration has intensified in recent years. Restoration is the process of bringing everyone
involved or impacted by a crime back to the condition they were in prior to the offense
(Schmalleger, 2009). Supporters of Restorative Justice looks into the overall impact crime has.
They believe that someone learning that a neighbor of theirs got robbed while waiting for a bus
could cause them to believe that they could be next. This is how communities are impacted by
Crimes impact the public differently. People are impacted when there are epidemics of
armed robberies, home invasions, random batteries, sexual assaults, and even murders plaguing
their communities. Citizens become too frightened to live their lives normally. They grow afraid
of taking their children to the park, they fear going for their morning run, and even develop
sleeping problems because they convince themselves every noise they hear or every shadow they
see is a potential burglary happening.
The pain caused by crime has a propensity of being mended through mediation,
negotiation, and empowerment (Samaha, 2008). Restorative Justice does not support deterrence,
retribution, and punishment. Punishing criminals is not believed to get to the root of what causes
crime. Punishment does not do much with resolving issues offenders have. Mediation and
empowerment provides opportunities to tend to the needs of offenders. It gives victims and
communities a chance of understanding why a crime took place. Addressing the needs of an
offender could go a long way with preventing recidivism.
Supporters of Restorative Justice feel as though offenders could benefit from it, despite
the reality offenders are the blame for the crimes they cause. In order for offenders to
transition back into society, they must have comprehension of the negative impact their actions
had on others. Restorative Justice humanizes crime. Offenders are compelled to interact with
those their crimes affected. They get to hear how lives were transformed because of their actions.
The Criminal Justice System has three core components: which Police, Courts, and
Corrections (Worrall, 2010). Each of the core components are directly involved with restoration
and Restorative Justice. Law enforcement departments are in a position to initiate Restorative
Justice following the arrest of an offender. Police officers have the initial interaction with
offenders. They respond to crime scenes, conduct investigations, and search for and apprehend
offenders. Police officers are usually the only direct contact victims and communities have with
the Criminal Justice System. They could bring victims and offenders together immediately
following a crime. Moments after crimes occur are usually when victims are at their emotional
peak because they are absorbing the reality they were victimized. This phase of the Criminal
Justice System may perhaps be the most advantageous time to implement Restorative Justice
because it helps healing to begin right away.
Restorative justice plays an influential role in the court system. Victim-impact statements
serve an instrumental role when sentencing is handed down. A victim-impact statement is a
description of the harm and suffering that a crime has caused victims and survivors (Orme-
Johnson, 2011). Victim-impact statements are explanations by victims and their loved ones
describing how their lives transformed by their crime victimization. Restoration comes into play
by the victim-impact statement covering how the victims were allowed to heal by interacting
with the perpetrator that caused them harm. Victim-impact statements go into how healing and
recuperation would not have been possible without the perpetrator not placing blame on anyone
or anything else. They could influence the court to strongly consider reformative sentencing
alternatives because mediation and interaction would be more advantageous with helping the
victims, their loved ones, the communities, and even offenders heal.
Making offenders address their victims, and openly talk about any physical, emotional, or
psychological damage they caused is a major aspect of Restorative Justice. Even though crime
generally has a negative effect on victims, perpetrators, and communities, victims could come to
a level of forgiveness, or even develop a bit of understanding of what motivated the offender.
Through extensive counseling and mediation, a victim could come to the point where they may
ask the court for leniency because they have been exposed to a different method of dealing with
Restorative Justice is not just a way to keep offenders out of prison. There is not a crime that perhaps has a more negative impact on an entire community than murder. The majority of murders are perpetrated by an offender that had some sort of relationship with their victim (Gavrielides, 2008). The statistics may support murderers and their victims knew each other, but random murders happen as well. Regardless of whether or not a murderer was a relative, acquaintance, or a stranger, families and friends of the victim may need to meet with the murderer to understand why they felt as though taking a life was an option. This could be beneficial with aiding the emotional and psychological recovery of the loved ones.
Research pertaining to the impact Restorative Justice has on public safety would substantiate whether or not it would be beneficial to dedicate more resources towards restoration rather than punishment. It would provide the Criminal Justice System with information regarding whether reform or punishment more substantially suits criminals. The judicial system will see which sentencing alternative is more preferred by victims and communities.
Unfortunately not every criminal can be reformed. There are some acts that warrant maximum punishment allowable by the Eighth Amendment. Everyone that commits a criminal act is not destined to be a repeat offender (Cripe & Pearlman, 2005). There are offenders that will fully cooperate with any sentencing stipulation: not just to avoid spending time incarcerated, but to demonstrate their repentance and willingness to become better, more productive members of their communities. Restorative Justice is intended to bring restoration to victims, perpetrators, and communities. Offenders are not only an important part of the equation, but they have a lot to gain from restoration as well. Sufficiently recovery from crime could be a gradual procedure for everyone involved. Accountability is an essential aspect of Restorative Justice. Offenders must accept accountability for their actions before any significant steps towards restoration and recovery can transpire. This is why an incoming police chief could be determined to implement a
Restorative Justice model in order to effect positive changes in public safety and quality of life.
There could be awareness that there is no chance that causing such a drastic shift in
culture without enlisting enthusiastic support from important contributors within the organization
and the community as a whole. This is why good leaders have others involved in what is going
on throughout their organization. Consideration of how one might proceed to identify and enlist
the support needed to implement Restorative Justice could focus on providing education and
professional development. It could be challenging to leaders to implement something
organizationally if their subordinates are not knowledgeable about what is being implemented
(Budhathoki & Haythornthwaite, 2013). In order to effectively lead criminal justice
organizations, executives must be cognizant of capabilities, knowledge, and interests of those
they are in charge of.
Budhathoki, N. R. & Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Motivation for open collaboration. American
Behavioral Scientist, 57(5), 548–575. doi: 10.1177/0002764212469364.
Cripe, C. A. & Pearlman, M. G. (2005). Legal aspects of corrections management (2nd ed).
Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.
Gavrielides, T. (2008). Restorative justice, the perplexing concept: conceptual fault lines and
power battles within the restorative justice movement. Criminology and Criminal Justice
8(2), 165-183. doi: 10.1177/1748895808088993.
Orme-Johnson, D. W. (2011). The use of meditation in corrections. International Journal of
Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 55(4), 661-664. doi:
Samaha, J. (2008). Criminal law (9th ed). Belmont: Thomson Learning, Inc.
Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminology today: an integrative introduction (5th ed). Upper Saddle
River: Pearson Education, Inc.
Schmalleger, F. & Smykla, J. O. (2009). Corrections in the 21st century (4th ed). New York
City: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Worrall, J. L. (2010). Criminal procedure: from first contact to appeal (3rd ed). Upper Saddle
River: Pearson Education, Inc.