27 Oct ‘Did you know?’ Thursdays
Restorative justice: an effective alternative to other justice approaches?
Restorative justice is being adopted in various national and cultural contexts as a response to crime. The core idea underpinning this model of justice is that of bringing together victims and perpetrators – as well as, on occasion, their families and members of the community – to discuss and understand the harm caused by crime. Restorative justice can be beneficial to both offenders and victims. It can help restore the community bonds broken by crime, aid perpetrators in grasping the seriousness of their deeds, and facilitate their reintegration into society. It also enables victims to voice their experiences and receive apologies and direct compensation from offenders. It can bolster victims’ faith in the criminal justice system and reduce their fear of crime and victimisation.
The restorative approach is an appealing alternative to traditional models of justice, yet it also has its caveats: many victims refuse to face those responsible for their pain and suffering, and a lot of scepticism surrounds its viability in the context of very serious crimes. Whether a restorative approach is viable and desirable depends on the specifics of each case, and care and attention for victims and their needs is paramount. Nonetheless, restorative justice remain a useful and effective alternative to imprisonment and other forms of punishment.