The aim of this essay is to be able to explore what restorative Justice is and how it has been developed in different places, showing if it works. There can be no doubt that restorative Justice is now part of the criminal Justice system in the United Kingdom and many other countries such as Canada, Australia, the United States, South Africa and New Zealand.
The essay is going to be in three parts: Part I will provide an introduction to the ideas of restorative Justice and explore its central propositions, claims and critiques made on behalf of restorative Justice; Part II will roved the forms and model of restorative Justice practice, indicating how they developed, explaining the ideas and principles embodied in these practices and exploring issues that arise when attempts are made to carry out these practices within criminal Justice systems.
Part Ill will then go on to answer the question which most people ask when they hear about restorative Justice, which is ‘does it work? I am going to talk on what I know to date about how restorative Justice actually works from a variety of empirical sources, including several meta-analyses performed by others. Finally, based on the evidence presented in this essay, my conclusions will be drawn on whether restorative Justice works. PART I “Restorative Justice” is a broad term, defined differently by its various proponents.
It is the name given to a type of different practices such as restitution, apologies and acknowledgements of harm and injury. Admittedly, restorative Justice has not yet been properly defined so that we acquire a clear view about its exact content and extent of application. However, the literature and field of practice shares at least the same general idea about what constitutes its practices and the main targets of its reoccurred outcomes.
According to Tony Marshall, Restorative Justice is a process whereby parties with a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future. Thee Gabriele defines it in the following way: Restorative Justice is an ethos with practical goals, among which is to restore the harm done by including all affected parties in a process of understanding through voluntary and honest dialogue, and by adopting a fresh approach to conflicts and their control, retaining at the same time certain rehabilitative goals.
Restorative Justice as a social practice and movement began, in its modern incarnation, in the asses as a response to what was considered to be an overly harsh criminal Justice system that neither effectively prevented crime nor successfully rehabilitated offenders. The criminal Justice system was too harsh on offenders who committed crime and did not attend fully to victims needs. Some people started to doubt whether we were morally Justified or even prudent in adopting such a response to offenders and victims. They felt that the future of criminal Justice looked blank.
This led to practitioners experimenting with new ways f dealing with crime problems. In particular they found that the needs of victims and offenders needed to be taken very seriously and instead of punishing the offender, they focused on restoring both parties, and helping to decide how to make Restorative Justice By pinky “Restorative Justice”. Restorative Justice has given a different view to the way we regard criminals, by influencing communities, workplaces, and neighborhoods to treat criminality with forgiveness and understanding.
With the inherent moral and religious backing, it could create better healing. Community leaders, religious eeriest, volunteers all come under Restorative Justice in order to assist criminals’ reintegration back into the community by intensive individualistic. Restorative justice works in the lines preached by various religions, which uphold forgiving as superior than pursuit of revenge. It does not push offenders away from the mainstream of society.
Restorative Justice mends the offender’s ways, renders mental tranquility that his guilt had been amended and makes chances of refunding obscure. It gives satisfaction to victims that their worries did not go unheeded, and their cultural dignity was restored. Restorative Justice has been seen as a potentially transformation social practice that could, under the right conditions, prevent the need for harsh criminal punishment and incarceration. There have been a number of claims made on behalf of restorative Justice and this claims made have been criticized.
The claims made on behalf of restorative Justice are simultaneously instrumental, incremental, and grand: _ Restorative Justice enhances understanding of the root causes of crime and conflict; _ Outcomes reached in restorative Justice are more likely to be complied with; _ Restorative justice processes reduce recidivism rates; _ Restorative Justice offers the possibility of reclaiming, repairing, and transforming individual wrongdoers and reintegrating them into productive activity; _ Participants in restorative Justice processes are more likely to develop fellow-feeling, empathy, and a sense of moral responsibility, mutuality, and reciprocity; _ Restorative Justice processes enhance community building, community norm development, and democratic participation by increasing the number of stakeholders who are involved in its deliberations; _ Restorative Justice permits more real, less formal, less stylized r legal human communication and interaction, producing more authentic understanding; _ Restorative Justice processes are richer at expressing a variety of often competing Justice values simultaneously? acknowledgment of fault, recognition of consequences that flow from wrongful activity (punishment, remorse), compensation to victims, social learning and healing, mercy, as well as moral judgment?and are thus more creative and flexible and represent a form of responsive Justice that is humanely civilized and not as brittle as formal adversarial justice structures; _ Processes using restorative Justice values are more likely to engage individuals in voluntary commitments for undertakings to others and self and to encourage self-empowerment and self-esteem; _ Restorative Justice is potentially less costly and more efficient both in monetary and deterrent effects than conventional phonological practices; Since the practices of restorative Justice in all of the forms described above have been developing and attempting to express these aspiration values, a core of critiques of restorative Justice has emerged at different levels and from the perspectives of different disciplines.
There are empirical claims hat restorative Justice does not meet its own claims (Breathiest 2002, Daly 2002, base retributive and vengeful motivations that are impervious to so-called transformation processes (Acorn 2004); legalistic claims that restorative Justice unfairly coerces and manipulates its participants to forgive (victims) or confess and accept harsher terms (offenders) than legal rights and rules would permit in formal justice institutions and that restorative Justice does not deliver equitable or equal justice (Doling 2003, Delegate 2000); anthropological critiques that concepts in estimative Justice ideology are culturally specific and not universal (Burch ; Vegetarian 2001) and that notions of community are social constructs and can be manipulated for bad ends (Heisenberg 2003); and political claims that restorative justice processes will be manipulated, corrupted, co-opted, and deformed to produce oppression, more state surveillance and discipline, and more inappropriate social control (Able 1982, Leverage et al. 1999). In addition to these critiques, specific critics have suggested that, like civil ADAIR, restorative Justice privatized that which should be public (LULAB 1995), prevents precedents and rule generation for community norm development, and hides its outcomes from measurement and evaluation. Philosophers such as Nassau (2004) decry the potential degradation and loss of humanity that can come from compelled shaming. Acorn (2004) argues similarly about the effects of coerced compassion on the part of victims, who have been seriously harmed and are made to feel ashamed about their desires for punishment, vengeance, and retribution.
Within the restorative Justice movement itself, practitioners and theorists have their own worries (Breathiest 2002, up. 37-68) that offenders may be stigmatize in a different, but harmful, way than they are stigmatize in formal court proceedings; that victims can feel revisited in their retelling of pain or injury suffered [comparable to the rape victim’s dilemmas in the formal adjudication system (Anatomies 1993)]; that oppressive or false communities in societies that are actually heterogeneous will attempt to impose their own values on participants in the process; or that even with community homogeneity more conservative or majorities values may gain ascendancy and dampen individual freedoms (Heisenberg 2003)..
Feminists have been strong critics (and proponents in other contexts) of restorative Justice models that discriminative violence against woman and seek lesser punishments and no incarceration for wrongful acts that have only recently achieved some form of legal recognition (Daly 2005, Stubs 1995). Practitioners worry that processes that are structured around dialogue and narrative (Young 2000) may privilege the verbal and well educated and disembowel those without education or other resources. And others worry that restitution commodities crime and wrongdoing by allowing offenders to buy their way out if they can (Kahn 006). Finally, restorative Justice requires well-intentioned, Non manipulative participants and sufficient resources to allow authentic encounters and dialogue to occur.
Thus, even for some proponents of restorative Justice, there is a fear that restorative Justice can only work with large commitments of time, resources, and skilled individuals and must necessarily be deformed and watered down to radicalized imperfections if it is assimilated, aggregated, and institutionalized without sufficient care and resources. It meet its own claims of reduced recidivism, restored communities, and reintegrated offenders? Is restorative Justice more efficient (less costly, more deterrent, more restitution) than more conventional forms of punishment? Is it more fair or Just (as perceived by participants or as analyzed by external, objective and professional measures of these illusive concepts)?
These questions will be analyses in part iii. PART II Professor Rod Morgan argues that the youth Justice system of this country is criminality children and young people for minor offences that should be dealt with informally (Morgan, 2008). He claims, about 1000 children and young people were reinitialized, in 2002, through formal cautioning or on-the-spot fines for disorder and aggressive behavior; for 2006 that number exceeded h million. Professor Morgan is not alone in believing that more informal ways of ‘applying Justice’ need to be found, when dealing with some of the most vulnerable and impressionable of society (namely children and young people).
Liebermann (2004) argues that governments across the world are turning to restorative Justice concepts to re-make their youth justice systems. Serbia, with its “… War-torn and despairing youth Justice system… ” He notes, is now deploying restorative ideals against crimes and conflict often rooted in “… The huge hurt of past events… ” (Liebermann, 2004, p. 23). She highlights, Serbians preference for Victim-offender mediation’ (VON), while others employ different restorative models – Bizarre and Griffith (2003) highlight family group conferencing’ (FCC), in Australia, New Zealand, parts of North America; Digging and Marsh (2003) noting FCC in parts of England.
Conferencing, as a concept, simply implies ‘meeting for discussion’ (see: Collins Concise Dictionary, 1995, ‘conference’), forever, I am going to discuss on the four main models of restorative Justice: victim- offender mediation, reparative probation boards, circle sentencing and family group conferencing (FCC). The precise process in each model differs but each retains the key restorative principles. I will examine each of these models in turn. However, as most restorative youth offender processing in the I-J resembles most closely FCC, I am going to highlight more on this model. The first official use of a Circle sentencing occurred in 1992 in the Yukon Territorial Court in Canada (Clayey 1998:182).
Circle sentencing has been developed most extensively in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Yukon and has been used occasionally in several other communities. Circle sentencing is a holistic reintegrating strategy designed not only to address the criminal and delinquent behavior of offenders but also to consider the needs of victims, families and communities. Within the ‘circle’, crime victims, offenders, family and friends of both, Justice and social service personnel, and interested community residents speak from the heart in a shared search for an understanding of the event. Emphasis is on the needs of the victim in terms of them choosing their support group, relating their feelings and deciding on the outcome.
The primary outcomes are addressing the victim’s concerns through reparation, promoting healing for all affected victims, improvement of community strength, and prevention of future crimes. Restorative probation boards typically involve non-violent offenders who have been given probation. Preparation is minimal and reparative board is a recent version of a much older and more widespread community sanctioning response to youth crime, generally known by such terms as out panels, neighborhood boards, or community diversion boards. These panels or boards have been in use in the United States since the asses, and their counterparts, reparative boards, have been in use since the mid-asses.
Reparative probation aims to engage citizens in decision-making through the CURB to agree a reparative plan and find ways to prevent recidivism. (Bizarre and Griffith, 2003, up 84-85) Victim-offender mediation programs referred to in some communities as Victim-offender reconciliation programs’ and, increasingly as victim-offender dialog programs’ have a respectable 20 -year track record in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Victim-offender mediation is used as a probation option. Extensive preparation is the key to a successful mediation and ideally involves personal contacts with victim and offender to explain the process. However, minimal community involvement is permitted, with family and others rarely participating.
The victim has maximum input and the session is managed so as to empower them and meet their individually-defined needs. The required primary outcomes are for the victim to feel satisfied with the process, for the offender to appreciate the harm of their actions, and for agreed reparation. (Bizarre and Griffith, 2003, up 82-84) Turning to Family Group Conferencing, this model is used extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand. The latter employs FCC for nearly all Juvenile offending and in Australia it is at the discretion of the police. Within the I-J, FCC is gaining momentum. Schemes in London, Hampshire, Sheffield and Kent operate for young people aged from 10-17 years.
Within the domain of child welfare, half of English social services departments operate FCC (digging and marsh, 2003,up 107-108). Almost all young offender police cautions throughout Lawlessly and surrounds are administered by the Restorative Cautioning Unit (Young and Googol, 2003,p 94). With regard to the FCC process, all parties volunteer to participate. Preparation is moderate, usually consisting of telephone contact to victim and offender to explain the process. The independent convening coordinator, the offender and the victim identify participants, including family of the victim and offender in addition to social services and police personnel.
The victim is encouraged to express their feelings about the offence and to input to the reparative plan. The offender is brought face-to-face with the impact of their behavior, including the effect on their own family, and encouraged to be accountable for the harm caused. Primary outcomes are clarification of the facts of the offence, negotiating agreeing written plans for suitable reparation to the victim, and reintegration of the offender into their community (Umbrage and zero, 2003 p 72). FCC has benefits for the victim as well as the offender. The British Crime Survey showed that in instances of mugging or burglary more than two-thirds of victims do not seek imprisonment for their offender.
Instead, the opportunity to relate the harm caused by the offence and ask questions of the offender is seen as more valuable and conducive to languishing lingering trauma (Wright 2002, p 63) In most models of restorative justice, community involvement is important. However, for successful FCC it is vital. A UK governmental survey showed that more than half the young offenders family and friends would think – more than five times the number who considered being arrested the most important factor (Breathiest, AAA, IPPP). In terms of the nature, role and extent of community involvement in FCC, ‘community has two meanings: (I) the victim or offender’s family or immediate social network, from which FCC participants are drawn; (it) the wider community in which they live and/or work.
The community of participants is active in drawing up an agreed plan for reparation of the harm done, with particular care taken to involve the offender. This is very important because research shows that when young people are actively included in FCC decisions and outcomes, they are more likely to complete the reparation programmer and desist from offending; Home Office studies show that in these circumstances refunding rates drop from 35% to only 3% (DODD CDC, 2005). In addition, involvement can help to prevent the young person employing techniques of naturalization to absolve themselves of blame for their actions (Sykes and Matzo, 003, puppy-234).
In terms of practical application, FCC has effected a decrease of up to 80% in court caseloads in New Zealand (Umbrage and Zero, 2003, pap). Application of conferencing techniques has had similar benefits in the I-J. The Milton Keynes retail theft initiative has been successful in terms of efficient use of police time. When caught shoplifting, young offenders undergo a restorative conference in which their families participate. Mediated by the Retail Theft Coordinator, the process includes the store manager speaking about the impact of theft on the shop and staff. There is also an educative element to the conference, with the police employing ‘protective behavior’ techniques to teach the young person how to cope with bullying and/or peer pressure (DODD CDC, 2005).
Thames Valley Police have pioneered restorative cautions in the I-J, and claim greater offender and victim satisfaction, restored victim confidence and sense of safety, and restored community relations. (Ludlow, 2003, pap; Wright, 2002, pap). It is demonstrated that restorative justice has current application in the UK and that communities have potential for involvement PART Ill I now come to the question does restorative Justice work? This part will summarize the now considerable empirical evidence about the effectiveness of restorative justice. This is a difficult question that can’t be easily answered. The fundamental principles and values of restorative Justice are somewhat incompatible with the traditional methods of measuring success.
Although one important indicator, recidivism, is still a relevant goal, restorative Justice goes well beyond the standard of simply stopping an offender from committing future crimes. As restorative Justice currently works alongside a model that relies on traditional ways of thinking, assuring success is still important. Over the past, Studies have been done using indicators such as recidivism, costs, participant satisfaction, fairness, and public perceptions. Many studies do indicate that offenders diverted to restorative Justice programs tend to reactivate less, and that all who are involved in the process generally feel more satisfaction when compared to traditional methods.
One of the most complete studies that have been carried out on the impact of restorative involved the Reintegrating Shaming experiments (RISE) which used Barbiturate’s theory of reintegrating shaming. In 2000, Strong showed that 71% of the victims who participated in the RISE experiments and whose case was randomly assigned to a family group conferencing got an apology compared with 17% of the cases that were randomly assigned to court. 77% of the conference apologies were considered by the victim to be sincere whereas this was the case for only 36% of the apologies that were given through court. Finally, 65% of victims felt either quite or very angry before the FCC and 27% felt so afterward.
However, the proportion of victims who felt sympathetic to their offender almost tripled by the end of the restorative procedure. In String’s terms: Overall, victims most often said their conference had been a helpful experience in allowing them to feel more settled about the offence, to feel forgiving towards their offender and to experience a sense of closure. Some studies have focused on participation rates, noting that even when referred by courts (in less than voluntary settings) many offenders choose to admit guilt and attend mediation with their victims. (In virtually all court programs, defendants who do not admit guilt and instead seek trial are not referred to Victim-offender Mediation) Participation attest for victims range from 40% to 60% of those referred.
Interestingly, participation rates for victims go up when more time elapses between referral and participation in cases involving personal injury (assault), but decrease when more time elapses in cases involving property (theft, vandalism) (Umbrage et al. 2005). There is a curvilinear relationship for participation rates of victims and the seriousness of the offense, with participation rates lowest for less serious offenses and for the most serious (fear of the offender or reliving the trauma in serious bodily harm cases) (Coates&Gem 1985, Warwick & Staccatos 1999). Paulson (2003) found that victims who participated in restorative Justice proceedings were half as likely to feel upset about the crime afterwards as were victims who went to court.
Many studies have demonstrated high satisfaction rates on the part of both offenders and victims who feel they were treated better in restorative Justice processes than in the criminal justice system (Paulson 2003, reviewing 7 selected studies out of 100 on psychological outcomes of restorative Justice), often with satisfaction rates greater by a factor of 3 to 4. Studies in such diverse locations as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (McCollum & Yachted 1998); Brooklyn, New York (Davis et al. 1980); Canberra, Australia (Strong et al. 1999, Strong 2001); Israel (Umbrage & Ritter 2006); a multi-state U. S. Study (Umbrage & Coates 1992, Umbrage et al. 2001); Canada (Umbrage 1995); and the United Kingdom (Umbrage & Roberts 1996, Marshall & Merry 1990); along with meta-analysis of multiple studies (Ultimate et al. 001), with diverse sets of victims (female, young, old, low and middle socioeconomic classes) and offenders (most, but not all of the studies focus on Juvenile offenders, with increasing attention o adult offender programs as restorative Justice practices expand) all find that victims have satisfaction rates higher than what they had expected to gain from a process following injury and harm. Offenders are much more likely to feel they have been treated fairly. Offender satisfaction rates with restorative Justice compared with court processes tend to be higher than victims’ satisfaction (typically because, in minor offenses, participation in restorative Justice proceedings may eliminate other might have had their cases totally dismissed in a more conventional setting).
Both cities and offenders report satisfaction with their ability to narrate and explain more fully both the harm and injury that wrongdoing caused in particular circumstances and the reasons for committing bad acts. On the victim side, there is a slightly lower perception that their opinions were taken more seriously in restorative justice than in court, compared with offenders (Paulson 2003). And, in an important and rigorous analysis in Australia, victims whose restorative Justice proceedings were badly handled or did not take place were the least satisfied [less satisfied than court seers and participants in more successful restorative Justice proceedings (Strong 2001)]. Thus, the quality of the restorative Justice process may be especially important when there are high expectations about what it can accomplish.
Participants generally expressed satisfaction with the fairness of mediators or third- party facilitators over Judges [by a factor of 2. 3 for victims and 6. 0 for offenders (Paulson 2003)]. Victims have been satisfied with what they perceive to be greater accountability in restorative Justice (Paulson 2003), and, not surprisingly, victims were ore likely to forgive the offender in restorative Justice processes than in court proceedings, probably because offenders are much more likely to apologize [6. 9 times more likely according to Pollen’s (2003) meta-analysis] than in court proceedings. Since the beginning of the asses, researchers have attempted to track compliance rates with reparation and compensation agreements.
Although many argue that restorative Justice does not require an agreement but rather seeks understanding and dialogue, studies document that agreements for some sort of restitution are highly likely to occur [more than 90% in VON programs in which there s face-to-face contact, with some form of restitution agreement being reached in the vast majority of cases (Umbrage et al. 2005, Umbrage 2001 , Umbrage & Coates 1992)]. Compliance rates range from a high of 100% to usually no lower than about 75%, in comparison with control groups with diversionary or other sentences from courts (see, e. G. , Haley & Encourager 1992, Marshall 1998, Kuhn 1987, McCollum &Yachted 1998). Ultimate et al. ‘s (2001) meta-analysis of eight studies with a control group found that restitution compliance was 33% higher in restorative justice cases than in the control cases (in court).
Other studies in the United States have found comparisons of compliance of 81% completion rates in restorative Justice with 58% completion in court cases (Umbrage et al. 2005). And in a randomly assigned treatment evaluation of six different programs, 89% completion was found in restorative Justice, compared with 75% completion in courts (Ervin ; Schneider 1990). Perhaps the greatest empirical effort has been expended on examining what concrete and measurable effects restorative Justice has had on recidivism rates. In a meta-analysis of 19 studies with 9307 offenders Viennese), Nugent et al. 2003) found that VON participants were 33% less likely to roofed within six months than those who had not participated in VON.
This rigorous meta-analysis recognizes important categorical and coding issues?different studies define roofless differently (arrest, conviction, any new contact with the criminal Justice system), and the time period in speaking, over longer periods of time (as the offender moves further and further away from the VON event), recidivism rates move closer together for restorative and conventional criminal Justice participants (Nugent et al. 2003). These data must be compared with the general rates of decline in Juvenile delinquency with the ordinary life course (which some estimate at as much as 50% who no longer offend when they grow older; see McCoy 2000).
Victimless crimes (like some forms of drunk-driving and some drug offenses) may be less subject to restorative Justice-court differences as the encounter with a victim is minimal (with a state official standing in for the harm the crime caused) Strong 2001). And comparisons of recidivism rates are subject to great selection biases, with the more minor crimes or those committed by venires more likely to be assigned to restorative, not conventional adjudicative, treatment conditions (Breathiest 2002, Bizarre ; Walgreen 1999, Bradshaw et al. 2006, Prefer 1998 Conclusively, there seem to be empirical grounds for optimism that restorative Justice can work in restoring victims, offenders, and communities..
Breathiest points out that, in thinking of whether restorative Justice works, we should not think solely in terms of crime reduction. Restorative Justice works, he claims by delivering a sense of Justice and healing to crime victims, a sense f fairness to offenders, and by building micro communities. He also argues that restorative Justice works best when it is backed up by punitive Justice. What he advocates is certainly not abolition of punishment and its replacement by restorative justice. For him, this would probably render restorative Justice ineffective. Rather, punishment should be marginal’s, placed in the background and used only as a last resort.