‘Restorative justice empowers victims and challenges offenders.’ To what extent do you agree?

2200 WordsApr 23, 20199 Pages
‘Restorative justice empowers victims and challenges offenders.’ To what extent do you agree? One of the key issues of our contemporary society is that we have to start to be aware that ‘the social relationship’ is one of the main elements of our lives. Society as a whole is a more complex structure, so we must cease to perceive life only in terms of the individual. However, most of our laws continue to believe that only the individual matter; this is seen most obviously in how the law treats interpersonal relationships that give rise to conflicts. An international effort was made to find alternatives to criminal punishment and incarceration as a means of rehabilitation of offenders. But the idea itself is not only to find as many and…show more content…
Restorative justice is not a complete new phenomenon. Similar principles can be recognised in the Anglo-Saxon law, and even earlier such as Roman Law or the Code of Hammurabi c. 2000 BC (D van Ness). Also, it resembles with system of justice practiced in the Aboriginal and Native American communities, but with time, societies have turned away from this kind of practice, later coming back to it as seen in the last decades. Restorative justice has emerged as an alternative to retributive penal system; it offers a change of perspective to the classic system of justice, thus building on the premise of a participatory approach in resolving conflict and repairing the harm. The new penal philosophy assumes that all parties should be involved in the response to crime, the victim, offender and the community. Under this philosophy criminal liability is based on understanding the harm and the damages that the offender produced. A re-call of restorative justice was due to Nils Christie’s famous essay ‘Conflicts as Property' in which he argues that a conflict is “something of value, a commodity not to be wasted” (1977:1). He claimed that the victim “has a need for understanding, but instead is a non-person in a Kafka play. Of course, he will go away more frightened than ever, more in need than ever of an explanation of criminals as non-human. " (1977:8). Moreover, he reasons that involving the victim in this process
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