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Restorative Justice

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  • April 2008
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Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice is an alternative to the traditional system. Even though restorative justice will never replace the traditional system, it has a balanced focus on the person harmed, the person causing the harm and the affected community, rather than just the crime through the eyes of the law. Restorative Justice is always voluntary for the victims, and the offenders have to be willing to cooperate and they have to want to do this. Restorative Justice is a forward-looking, preventive way of understanding crime in its social context. (Dr. Tom Cavanagh; Garder Emily)

Restorative Justice is often done in a circle, dealing with persons between the ages of 18 and 24; it involves a mediator, the victim, the offender, and the community members. It challenges everyone to look at the root causes of the crime, and recognizes that the offender(s) themselves have often suffered harm. Thus making everyone realize that crime violates people and relationships, and the justice part of it all identifies the needs and obligations of the victim, offender, and community. Therefore, the community must take some responsibility for the conditions that contribute to the crime, and help to promote healing by focusing on the present and the future. (Julie People, Lily Trimboli)

In the traditional system, it is done in the courts, where the actions in court are all directed at the offender and the victim is ignored, because they are looking at the crime through the eyes of the state and its laws. So instead of repairing the harm done, the offender just gets a punishment like jail time, or imprisonment, etc. The justice here in the traditional system mainly focuses on establishing guilt, by locking in on past behavior and the question “did he or she do it?” Also, in the traditional system, the community is sidelined and is represented by the state. (Grader, Emily) In restorative justice community members are a big part because they tie...

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