This mini dissertation will critical analyze the development of restorative justice and its aftermath in the South African legal system. This mini dissertation seeks at castrating the contrasts and the contradictions of classifying restorative justice within the ambits of legal system in South Africa. This paper will also level the playing fields by, inter alia, outlining the impact and the effect of restorative justice on the Constitutional imperatives and on the future of the South African society, which is healing from the past injustices.
Finding a new way to deal with criminal issues for young adults is very rare, especialy in a predomenatly impoverished area. So to be a part of the Restorative Justice Research team was an honor, also very insightful. At first I knew only a brief description about restorative justice being used in a way of restoring small issues not applying it to a more serious incidents such as criminal justice. I looked at it as harm causing problems were as justice repairs a partial amount of the problem. For this project however, it was way more than just rebuilding but a way to bring justice in a creative way that can not only benefit people who have done crimes but help repair community thoughts and views in the process.
Restorative justice (RJ) is the practice of trying to restore the victims of harm or trauma back to a state of peace and contentment. It is used to benefit the victims so they can in a way reclaim a part of themselves. Restorative justice has three main models/practices; Victim Offender Conferencing (VOC), Circle Processes, and Family Group Conferences. Victim offender conferencing is the most common application of restorative justice in North America. In, The Little Book of Victim Offender Conferencing, Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz explains, “the victim offender conferencing process brings victims and offenders of crime together in a face-to-face meeting prepared and led by a trained facilitator, often a community volunteer, to talk about the impact of the consequences of the crime.”
My interest in studying the concept of restorative justice, first developed after I began observing various documentaries and articles surrounding real life case studies. After completing my GCSEs which included the subject of Law and further into A level, I feel that I have a sound understanding and great fascination of the subject. The combination of my A level subjects has provided me the opportunity to refine my skills in presenting justification for cases, make critical analysis and thorough evaluation. Experience of completing tasks with use of initiative and quick thinking are essential for studying law, and certainly for further progression into the challenging field of this subject as a career. I have report-writing practice for academic purposes, throughout my secondary studies, all of which have provided a valuable foundation to understanding the basics of law. Being organised and giving priority to tasks or deadlines are
The criminal justice system views any crime as a crime committed against the state and places much emphasis on retribution and paying back to the community, through time, fines or community work. Historically punishment has been a very public affair, which was once a key aspect of the punishment process, through the use of the stocks, dunking chair, pillory, and hangman’s noose, although in today’s society punishment has become a lot more private (Newburn, 2007). However it has been argued that although the debt against the state has been paid, the victim of the crime has been left with no legal input to seek adequate retribution from the offender, leaving the victim perhaps feeling unsatisfied with the criminal justice process.
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)
Understandings of restorative justice and its shift from traditional methods of preventing future offending has proved to be a central issue in the criminal justice system. In the view of Marshall (Marshall 1996, cited in Walgrave 2008, p.18), he describes restorative justice to be a practice in which the offender and victim facilitate the healing of crime by meeting together and mutually discussing the outcome of an offence. Thus, restorative justice proves to be a central issue as it focuses on mediation between the offender and victim while also encouraging offenders to avoid law enforcement and further wrongdoings in the future by the police (Larsen 2014). Such matters can be resolved through conferences in which a third party aids in the
Procedural justice under the theory of restorative justice will consist of a family group conference including Torres, John Geer’s father, mother, daughters, and Maura Harrington. The purpose of the conference is not to mediate or moderate a discussion between the two sides (Zehr, 2002). Rather, the purpose of a restorative conference between Torres and Geer family is to create an opportunity for the Geer family to directly tell the Torres how John Geer’s death personally affected them (Newmark, 2017c). Alternatively, Torres has the to agree to repair the damage he caused to the Geer family and rehabilitate himself. Therefore, it is imperative that Torres first admits guilt and takes responsibility for the shooting death of John Geer before
At the heart of the problem with our prison system, is the Victorian-style institutions which hundreds of thousands are forced to consider is home. These prisons, designed during the industrial revolution, were built to keep the masses under control. Yet, operating in a 21st century country, they are now breeding grounds for crimes, committed by prisoners disillusioned by life. And, these prisons are historically understaffed, unsafe, and arguably, unacceptable. So, investment should be welcomed by a Government determined to create a “Big Society”.
Restorative justice is a shift from the punishments the judges give to offenders to the victims’ choices. The way it works is that a meeting is arranged for the victims and offenders to meet and then settle with a punishment that will repay the victims (Tutorial: Introduction to Restorative Justice, http://restorativejustice.org/restorative-justice/about-restorative-justice/tutorial-intro-to-restorative-justice/#sthash.6qdHKXda.dpbs). I think this is a great way because it allows the victims to feel content that they have a saying in how the offenders should be punished.
Over the course of both my undergraduate and master’s programs in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding (NCRP), I have wanted to further study the concept of Restorative Justice. Though it has surfaced several times throughout my NCRP coursework, it has mostly been in the context of international conflict. Thus, I have often wondered how Restorative Justice might work in a more local context. That local context revealed itself in my current role as one of two fathers of a first-grader in a school in Long Beach. Helena, our six-year-old daughter, attends a small private school with 160 students in grades K-8. The school community regards itself as being a large, caring, tight-knit extended family, while the administration has been explicit in stating that the incidence of bullying on the campus is little to none. Our experience as a family in the nearly two years that we have been part of the community has been otherwise. Here are three bullying scenarios that we’ve experienced or heard of occurring in our school community:
When considering studies in corrections on a global scale it is important to understand how to utilize the most applicable method to gather knowledge. Comparative studies are often used to explore methods for explicating or developing knowledge and attitudes. Comparative research examines cases with the intention to reveal the structure and invariance or unchanging relationship for an entire group or population. In this case, and for the purpose of this paper, the comparative research is suggested to be used in corrections on a global scale. Several problems arise when using comparative research studies on a global scale. Some of these issues are cross-cultural research between countries, selecting a compatible research design whether
When considering justice, the word just or just behavior or treatment, play strong roles in the definition of the word. Justice reflects one of the many characteristics of God and His command to “do unto others as you would have done to you” (Luke 6:31, New Living Translation). For many, the idea that one would want forgiveness from another they have wronged does not seem farfetched. However, oftentimes, it is easier to accept forgiveness than it is to give. Even when an individual is wronged, scripture states one is to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39). This idea suggests that when one has intentionally harmed another, forgiveness should ensue which means that one does not cause harm against another as a form of retribution.
This paper will examine the various benefits and challenges of restorative justice within the context of the way in which it effects the victim, the offender and the community. Along with goals which foster healing between the victims, offenders and community, this process has the potential to bring about forms of forgiveness and reconciliation through the use of communication which functions to promote an understanding as to the why and how of the crime committed. Furthermore, as restorative justice expands from the context of a progressive approach to traditional methods of normalizing interpersonal relationships and the social norm, empowerment for the victim along with social integration for the offender makes way for restoration by the