Restorative Justice Essay

954 Words4 Pages
Restorative justice is an innovative approach to the criminal justice system that focuses on repairing the harm caused by crimes committed. The methods used in the conventional justice system may deter the offender from committing further crimes, but it does neither repair the harm caused, nor help them acknowledge their responsibility, instead it stigmatises them, worsening the situation instead of improving it (Johnstone 2003). “Stigmatisation is the kind of shaming that creates outcasts; it is disrespectful, humiliating” (p.85). It breaks the moral bonds between offender and community and can result in the creation of a destructive cycle that may result in fear and isolation. The shaming by stigmatisation creates a negative effect which…show more content…
Procedural Justice Theory basis itself on the perception of respect and fairness for the offender, thus, the reason why conferences are used, they emphasise communication and offer support to both, the offender and the victim. Unacknowledged Shame Theory is seen in a perspective that shame can cause a destructive emotion and can promote crime instead of preventing it if it is not managed positively. By using apology in return for forgiveness symbolises that reparation can commence (Braithwaite, 2004). Defiance Theory is when the offender feels powerless and believes he/she will be humiliated. The experience of being exposed to disapproval of their behaviour may provoke some levels of deviance, however, as the session progresses and the offender expresses his/hers feelings, empathy develops between the parties, the environment becomes more reconciliatory, thus reducing deviance. James Dignan’s concepts related to offenders, but mostly, related to victims. In his work “The victim in restorative justice” (2007), he argues that restorative justice “has a tendency to focus primarily on offenders and reconviction rates rather than on victim-related concerns” (p.309). Dignan goes on explaining that only after Braithwaite’s theory became more developed in Australia and New Zealand, the role of victims became clearer (Dignan, 2007). He says that there are beneficial distinctions between reciprocal benefits and one-sided benefits, depending on the interaction of the
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