Chapter 4: RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
A philosophical framework and a series of programs for the criminal justice system that emphasize the need to repair the harm done to crime victims through a process of nego-tiation, mediation, victim empowerment, and Reparation.
There are many programs and ideas associated with restorative justice. Several hundred communities have adopted the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), which brings the victim and the offender together to talk about the crime and its im-pact on the victim and to mediate a solution acceptable to both parties. In a VORP mediation, the offender recognizes the injustice he has committed and negotiates a plan to restore the victim and repair the damage. In addition…show more content… The victim would like acceptance of responsibility by the of-fender for that offence, remorse and an apology for that particular behaviour which has already been defined as criminal. The offender’s supporters have already been cast as the supporters of the offender, there to try to perform the difficult balancing act of condemning the offender’s behaviour on that occasion (and possibly apologizing to the victim), while not rejecting the offender as a person. The victim’s supporters are there to comfort the victim in their hurt and, sometimes, to be indirect victims themselves. The state/community, embodied by the facilitator and sometimes other criminal justice system personnel or lawyers, has already exercised its power to bring the offender to book and its residual powers over the offender loom constantly in the background. Though this has only rarely been acknowledged by restorative justice theorists, the role and the identity of the different participants are, fundamentally, not up for negotiation.
4.3 Advantages of restorative justice
It perceives criminal acts more broadly: rather than defining crime only as lawbreaking, it identifies that offenders harm victims, communities and even themselves.
It encompasses more parties: rather than giving key roles only to government and the offender, it embraces victims and communities as well.
It measures success differently:…show more content… The court thus retains a supervisory function to monitor the completion of the plan, retaining the right to sentence in the normal way if the plan breaks down. The court also acts as a filter for inappropriate outcomes, as it may decline to follow a given plan in whole or in part. While consistency of outcome is a factor to be considered and a desirable objective, it is a serious mistake to expect that two-dimensional criteria such as seriousness of crime and previous record can measure justice from the point of the victim, the offender or the community. What the court has to do is accept that a solu-tion which those participants accept as being just has got a lot going for it. Only in a clear case should a judge intervene to impose a different outcome. Especially in the early stages of restorative justice this involvement of the court is a valuable reassur-ance, both to the justice system and to the