In recent years, restorative justice has been utilized by various jurisdictions and organizations across the globe in an effort to promote increased satisfaction and fairness to participants, as well as hoping to lower crime rates and achieve a multitude of other objectives. Furthermore, it has developed to somewhat of a social movement. The widespread utilization and inflated interest in restorative justice warrant a need for comprehensive studies of the theories, processes, effects, tools, policies, outcomes and corollaries of restorative justice. Luckily, researchers have offered numerous investigations, analyses and reviews of the restorative justice configuration, and in this paper I shall evaluate and consider these studies.
[...] interests, and which may increase the possibility of reintegration, can be reached.” (Maxwell, 133) Meanwhile, Strang identifies the overstated claims that point to “benefits for offenders, and, to a lesser extent, to communities which will profit from the lower offending rates.” (Strang, 2002: 192) The restorative justice model is not new, actually. evolution of restorative justice has been a process of discovery rather than invention. Practice continues to lead theory as a physics of social transformation reveals itself.” (McCold, 266) The current model of restorative justice has only recently replaced the victim and reparation oriented aims. [...]
[...] may be the case that the structures of formal justice are so inflexible that their limits have been reached in terms of providing victims with better justice.” (Strang, 2002: 207) Even if we were to assume, however, that restorative justice is the best path, even more questions arise. and should restorative justice challenge the prevailing paradigm of punishment, or should restorative justice remain ancillary to the proper purpose of punishment?” (Maguire, 446) The existing research is best described by Young et al, in speaking of most restorative justice literature, including their own, as “lacking a firm empirical basis.” (Young et al, 284) When we analyze research findings on restorative justice, several problems come to mind. [...]
[...] “Many citizens did not want anything more from the system than a speedy acknowledgement of their grievance, an explanation and an apology.” (Young et al, 281) Looking at reoffending is certainly a big part of the picture when determining restorative justice to be a success or not, but it is not the complete picture. “Some would maintain that restorative justice, if it is to be successful in the mainstream of criminal justice, will have to be shown to ‘work' for offenders- that is successful in reducing recidivism and preventing crime (Strang, 2002: 207) When we look at ‘reoffending', some merely look at conviction rates, while others look at the severity of crimes. [...]
[...] in Hampshire, the process was geared towards a bureaucratic suppression of a dispute, whereas in Thames Valley it was geared towards the promotion of genuine dialogue.” (Young et al, 300) Not surprisingly, once again higher levels of satisfaction emerged in the jurisdiction in which restorative aims were undertaken. tables show that complainants participating in a restorative meeting reported higher levels of satisfaction across many aspects of the complaints process, with complainants in Hampshire being much less likely to report feeling ‘very satisfied'.” (Young et al, 302) Moreover, their attitudes about the police officers they complained about changed for the better. [...]
[...] there is a tendency to compare new programs to perfection and criticize them when they fail to meet that impossible standard.” (McCold, 282) Essential to the understanding of restorative justice is a comprehension of why it works. “Although logical connections between intervention and outcomes are seldom made explicit in most practice or evaluation research, it is important for policy aimed at replication to begin to speculate about the theoretical components that distinguish this restorative process from other diversion programs and from other restorative decision-making programs.” (Bazemore, 132) Regardless, there is no question that research and further evaluation is needed. [...]
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