Question 1 Restorative Justice 1. (a) What is Restorative Justice? Restorative justice is “the process through which parties with a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for justice” (CPS, 2012)…
Restorative justice is less punitive than the traditional justice system which requires the offender to suffer some kind of fine or incarceration. Restorative justice focuses on the needs of the victim and the wider community. Instead of being punished alone, restorative justice focuses on getting the offender to take responsibility for his actions. In doing this, the victim might have to admit his guilt and take actions to either apologise to the victim or reinstate the victim in lieu of all the losses suffered. In other cases, the offender undergoes community service. The motive of restorative justice is to focus on the personal needs of the victim. Stated differently, the approach of sending offenders to jail and getting them to pay fines to the state does not seem to provide direct satisfaction to the victims. This is because it seems impersonal and the victim does not get any kind of restitution or reparation. However, in the case of restorative justice, the victim gets the opportunity to be given what s/he lost in an offence. If it is not possible to give back, the offender might render an apology and promise not to do so again. This fosters communal relations and promotes reformation (b) What are the aims of Restorative Justice? The Crown Prosecution Service outlines three main aims of restorative justice. The first aim is to promote victim satisfaction. In other words, there is evidence that the traditional approach of criminalising offences and imprisoning offenders does not seem to satisfy victims. Rather, it only keep the offenders away and there is no contact between them and victims. Restorative justice provides a system of reducing fear and tensions between the victim and the perpetrator. Also, in a sense, the apology of the victim and compensation [which is not a feature of traditional courts] can satisfy a victim emotionally. In another sense, the compensation or restitution paid by a victim can prove to be helpful in assisting victims to get back to their former position. The second aim of restorative justice is to foster some form of engagement between the victim and perpetrator. The idea is to provide an important platform through which the victim can tell the perpetrator what he things. Also, the perpetrator can accept his guilt, and apologise for his part in the situation. The victim becomes aware of his actions and the consequences. Through, this he voluntarily accepts the obligation to do something for the victim and community in order to make amends. This makes the whole process of punishment more personal and constructive. The third aim of restorative justice is that it creates community capital. In other words, it enables the community to get a win-win criminal justice system in which people are punished adequately and proportionately. Also, offenders are made aware of the scope of their actions and this prevents them from reoffending. In this sense, the community builds some degree of confidence in the justice system and makes them fell more secured and protected by the law. 2. (a) What are the advantages and disadvantages of Restorative Justice (taking account of the variety of ‘stakeholders’ who are, or might be, affected by it)? There are some advantages of restorative justice. First of all, restorative justice improves the outcome of court's decision because the victims get the chance to ...
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