Restorative Justice Theories

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Chapter 3 The theories of punishment 1 Introduction Many restorative justice practitioners seem to have a sense that the whole paradigm is so contrary to the way most legal practitioners especially prosecutors and magistrates think, that there is little common ground to be found. Legal practitioners often perceive restorative justice as not taking seriously the fundamental concerns of a criminal justice system. While restorative justice certainly is a very different lens to the one that is usually used in western criminal courts, it does in fact take the traditional concerns of criminal justice seriously and in fact responds more adequately to them than the traditional theories Punishment should not make the offender a worse person; ideally…show more content…
However, restoration is not the same as rehabilitation. The term rehabilitation is far too weak to capture the profound changes that take place in those who participate in restorative justice processes . Restorative justice emphasizes the need to accept responsibility, and so treats offenders as responsible moral agents, not as a sick patients needing treatment – unless of course that is clearly the case. An offender who has taken responsibility for repairing the harm done, and now has restored the trust and confidence of the community is ‘rehabilitated’ in a far broader sense than can be said of individualized therapeutic measures. In a society which associates imprisonment with taking crime seriously, restorative justice is likely to be used for less serious crimes than for crimes which normally involve a prison sentence. However, as has been shown above, restorative justice has multiple faces, which can serve most of the traditional goals of punishment, including deterrence and crime reduction, rehabilitation and incapacitation. In some countries restorative justice is used in combination with conditional and suspended sentences, which are punitive, such as house arrest and…show more content…
This was the case in Canada where an additional 28,000 conditional sentences were ordered within two years without it decreasing the prison population. On the other hand, restorative justice has the potential to reduce nets of state control if it provides a means to deal with cases that would have resulted in imprisonment. It seems that net widening depends on whether criminal justice professionals and the public accept restorative justice as a legitimate means to deal with serious cases. Restorative justice is not an empty concept that can mean all things to all people. It is creative in the sense that it promotes accountability of offenders and can bring about rehabilitative healing and reintegration. This process of accountability and acceptance of responsibility means that restorative justice is not easy on offenders. Accepting responsibility and facing a victim can be tougher and more meaningful than other sanctions, including

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