Restorative Justice Perspectives

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Essay 2: Restorative and Peacemaking Perspectives Martin Wright (1991) explores the Restorative Justice perspective through a variety of programs/organizations: Victim/Offender Reconciliation Project (VORP), National Association or the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), and the National Association of Victims Support Schemes (NAVSS). The purpose of these programs, and programs alike, is for the criminal justice system to make things as right as possible for all involved by incorporating mediation, and other community based alternatives; rather than continuing with traditional and ineffective punitive retributive custody (Wright, 1991, p. 79). The aim then, is to facilitate a meeting with those involved. Mediation involves “two parties,…show more content…
80). Drawing from Copernicus and the Old Testament, Zehr refutes the traditional understanding of crime and in its place he states, “crime is a wound in human relationships, and [it] creates an obligation to restore [and] repair” (Wright, 1991, p. 80). Conversely, this new framework for understanding crime describes criminal acts as being conflicts between individuals, rather than being an individual against the state (Wright, 1991, p. 80). This shift in the way that crime is framed is important because it changes our conception of the offender. Traditional conceptions of crime define offenders by their deficits, whereas restorative perspectives define offenders in relation to their ability to make amends. Traditional retributive frameworks place focus on the offender getting what they deserve (CRM 3301C, March 2nd). Whereas, restorative justice models focus on the needs of the victim, and the offender taking responsibility for their actions in order to repair harm (CRM 3301C, March…show more content…
4). Quinney uses religious and philosophical works to call for criminology to be a non-violent service that focuses on compassion, with the intent of relieving suffering (1991, p. 4). Gandhi’s philosophy is central to Quinney’s work: “Satyagraha, truth, force, social action comes out of an informed heart, out of a clear and enlightened mind” (Quinney, 1991, p. 10). Put another way, social action is rooted in the human heart that understands its own suffering and thus, can understand the suffering of others (Quinney, 1991, p. 10). Subsequently, he argues that crime can be ended once suffering has ended; by ending both, justice and peace will be established (Quinney, 1991, p. 11). This is in stark contrast to the traditional criminal justice system. The traditional criminal justice system is founded on violence and violent interventions (Quinney, 1991, p. 12). The idea being that violence can overcome violence (Quinney, 1991, p. 12). Pepinsky (1991) draws a parallel between crime and war in order to further problematize the traditional conception of crime; “crime is violence…so is punishment, and so is war…people who go to war believe that violence works…so do criminals and people who want criminals punished” (p. 301). However, restorative justice would have the criminal justice system focus on nonviolent intervention. “Nonviolence is a method of

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