Pros and Cons of Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is a way of responding to crime. Thus, restorative justice focuses mainly on repairing damage caused by the wrongful act and restoring the well-being of the involved individuals.

Pros.

1. It helps everyone- with the help of peace circles, not only will those who are directly involved help, but also every member of the society at large.

2. It focuses on the victims other than the wrongdoers- restorative justice, will in most cases, focus on those who have been affected to ensure their problem is solved.

3. It stimulates proper communication- good communication is essential in every society. With methods of solving disputes like restorative justice, the involved people can communicate effectively and solve the issue.

4. It promotes problem-solving strategies- having a good strategy can hugely help you; with strategies like restorative justice, one will easily solve issues.

5. Reduces recidivism- restorative justice has a higher tendency to reduce the repetition of offenses. The people will learn from the measures taken against the offender, and later, the offenders will learn from their mistakes, change their lifestyle, and put the matter behind. Hence, they’ll be able to lead a crime-free life.

6. Increases safety: restorative justice encourages individuals to make their neighborhoods, homes, and even environment safer and more pleasant to live in.

7. Encourages cost-effectiveness: with restorative justice in place, the state will be saved a great deal when it comes to financing, in that instead of labor where many people will be employed to solve issues, the government can solve them at the local level.

8. It also builds a stronger community: when the issues are solved in unity, the community will establish more active citizenship.

9. It leads to empowerment: when victims are allowed to speak out their minds to the offender, they will feel invested in the process, thus empowering them. In this case, the victim’s needs will be better acknowledged, and this will be giving them a voice in an often more impersonal world.

10. It establishes meaningful conversations: when victims state how they were affected, the committee will note that and state how they want to be compensated.

11. It brings satisfaction at the end: restorative justice achieves this goal very easily, in that the victim will be able to be compensated how they want, the offender will have to account for their actions, and above all, the committee will achieve their goal of bringing peace.

12. Timely resolution: unlike the judicial system, which at times takes time before solving cases, restorative justice solves the problem within a reasonable time frame.

13. It leads to an increased success rate: the people who were offended tend to follow through on agreements they have made, thus leading to them to be compensated, which might in return boost their success, be it financial, material, or mental health.

14. It brings an opportunity to make things right: offenders can apologize for their wrong acts, and also, the victims can declare their forgiveness to them.

15. It brings peace: restorative justice ensures both sides are sorted, thus bringing peace.

Cons.

1. It cannot prevent future wrongful acts– restorative justice cannot prevent future crimes so that these crimes won’t reoccur.

2. It can’t impose penalties – this is such a huge disadvantage since it requires penalties.

3. It can cause psychological harm- when the offender speaks rudely to the victim, this might heavily affect the victim, or rather the offender might speak some words to the victim, which might affect the victim’s mental health.

4. Some feel they are lesser punished- unlike in the judicial system, some people think that in restorative justice, the offenders are not severely punished; they argue that they should be properly punished to learn it the hard way.

5. It’s not available to all offenders- in some instances, the victim might reject the offer that the victim has provided, thus not being available to all.

6. The offender may be harmed: in restorative justice, the offender may be harmed when the victims gang up and decide to take revenge. This can get to be so brutal and merciless.

7. The offender may be ashamed: in restorative justice, although shaming the offender is not the aim of the process, the victims might decide to attempt to shame the offender on the actions they did. Thus, this might affect the offender’s self-esteem and mental health.

8. If the offender is a child, they might have it rough- when the offender is a child, the victims might take advantage of them because of the age; thus, they’ll end up harming him or even gang up against them.

9. It might lead to therapy sessions- especially to the offender because restorative justice does not look to control their behavior; it just forces them to acknowledge it and change over time to be a better individual.

10. This method might be more harmful to those involved in serious crimes- for those who are involved in serious crimes like murder or rape might face it rough.

11. It requires one to carry out a means- test- some offenders might be serious on the issue of apologizing, and they’ll accept that they are wrong, while others cannot feel guilty, they tend not to show any empathy and may even not respond appropriately when the victims are around. Thus, one has to check those who mean their apologies and those who don’t.

12. Risk to safety- restorative justice might be a risk to safety since the offenders might decide to continue with the wrong acts, unlike in the judicial realm where they will be held accountable and looked up in jail depending on their judgment sentences. This causes the criminals to reappear from time to time, putting the safety of residents at risk.

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