The two thing that most victims of a crime have in common is that they want to know who committed the crime and why. In addition many victims may desire to meet and confront the offender to get some closure or justice. In some cases this is made possible via restorative justice process. This process is all about bringing the victim and the offender together. Restorative justice process:
Restorative justice process is a process where the victim of a crime and the criminal are brought together to share their thoughts and feeling. The purpose of this is to help each side understand the pain that was caused by the crime. The three main processes most often identified with restorative justice is Restorative Circles, Restorative Conferencing and Victim-offender mediation.
Restorative Circles is a facilitated community meetings attended by offenders, victims, their friends and families, interested members of the community, and (usually) representatives of the justice system. The facilitator is a community member (called a “keeper”) whose role is primarily to keep the process orderly and periodically to summarize for the benefit of the circle. Conferencing brings the victim and offender to a face-to-face meeting to discuss the crime and its impact. This brings support people for both the victim and offender in the discussions. A criminal justice representative may be present in the conference. A trained facilitator, who does not have a role in the substantive discussions leads and guides the Participants.
Victim Offender Mediation brings victims and offenders together with a trained facilitator to discuss the crime and develop an agreement for how to make things right. This process focuses on creating a safe, comfortable environment in which restorative dialogue can take place.
Effects of the crime:
The effects of this crime were far reaching. Obviously it affected Mildred in several ways. She lost her valuables and now she is afraid to stay at home. In addition it also effected Mildred’s daughter, Betty. Betty now had to provide a place for her to stay for a while and now she was worried about her safety. This crime also had an effect on the communities’ sense of security as well as the offenders family.
Differences between restorative justice process and contemporary criminal justice:
Restorative justice is a process where all members volunteer to participate, which in return ensure buy in from all parties. This is essential in ensuring rehabilitation of the offender and closure for the victim. In addition the penalty for the offense is less severe therefore it give the offender a chance to make amends and get back on track. No conviction charges are applied.
The contemporary criminal justice process is formal and requires a judge, lawyers and a possible jury. This process is all about proving guilt and holding offenders accountable. It may not be the most effective way to give closure to the victim or rehabilitating the offender. Restorative justice process benefits:
David was given a second chance to make amends for his offense with him receiving a conviction . He was given an opportunity to see how his action affected the victim and other s around her, In return he was able to get back onto the right path.
Mildred was given closure and she received some of her property back and she gained confidence in her community. The community gained confidence in their overall security. Conclusion: At the end of the day the restorative justice process is more productive and effective as long as all side are willing participants. Buy in on a solution to a problem is always more effective then forcing the solution via conviction.
www.rjcity.org (copyright 2007 Prison Fellowship International).