Restorative law is a system that focuses on reconciling offenders and the community through rehabilitation in criminal justice. It responds to the culprit’s behavior that anchors on the restitution of lawbreakers and issues to resolve arising crimes that help bring the victims together in the society and restore harmony. Its main purpose is to provide an opportunity for the harmed to communicate with those who took the blame for harming about their needs after the crimes have occurred. Some of the benefits of having this approach are to reduce the number of repeated offenses in an area, thus building a strong, safe environment. It also empowers the people who were previously involved in criminal acts aiding them to recover and get satisfied as they reunite with their families. It helps in trusting the justice system for continued safety assurance. Rather than equitable punishment, this style calls for accountability of personal responsibility and commitments designed to make things right and repair the harm.
The criminal justice system incorporates this kind of judgment to use victims and offenders in a dialogue to share and address the harm caused by criminal acts, interests, experiences, and the needs of each participant. This plan puts things right in a community since it rebuilds, as the name suggests, relationships that could have been damaged or destroyed during the offenses. It is a structure that supports the healing processes of victims who had been incarnated by providing a controlled and safe setting. The meeting is done confidentially, and only the offender meets the victims to speak voluntarily (Nadeem, 2021). It is best used when the case relates to domestic violence, murder, sex offenses, or even petty crimes. It can also be applied if the victims are being retraumatized.
This structure helps in interconnecting concepts of Repair, Encounter, and Transform. Each of these three elements is essential and discrete in the plan. They represent a process toward wholeness and wellbeing that offenders, victims, and the community can experience. It is important since it prevents potential crimes from occurring and resolves conflicts. For instance, it can be applied where neighbors dispute or humans with antisocial behavior. Individuals see the consequences of their bad actions in a community, making them change and become good (Nadeem, 2021). The core values of this approach are Respect which is key for the process to be successful, Relationship, Repair, Responsibility, and Reintegration.
The basic principles of restorative justice involve inviting full participation and consensus, working towards healing the hearts which have been broken before, and seeking direct accountability. Strengthening the society and individuals to prevent and reduce further crimes and reintegrate where division has been created. They together in helping in restoration in various settings. This program aims to have the offenders take responsibility for their bad actions and give them a chance to redeem themselves, and discourage a repeat of the crimes (Hashimet al, 2018). This method can be adopted into daily practice since it supports social and emotional development and literacy. It equips both adults and young children with problem-solving skills as well as gives them the ability to manage conflicts if they occur.
Reintegrative shaming is used to communicate shame to a criminal in a way that can encourage them to desist. It disapproves the basis act within continuum respect of the wrongdoer, and they are treated as good people who have made a mistake, unlike stigmatization which shames away someone. They are treated badly as inadequate humans due to their crimes (Fitch et al., 2018). Most Western countries avoid crimes because of fear of being punished and shamed. Therefore, the method works well to keep a community free from offenses.
The theory of Braithwaite’s reintegrative shaming helps in reducing crimes in a community. It predicts that restorative justice procedures will minimize the rate of offenses since it focuses on the problem rather than the person. According to Nadeem (2021), this methodology brings social interactionism, also known as labeling theory, to identify the causes of the violations in how society responds. Correspondingly, restorative justice seeks to repair the relationship between the victim, offender, and the clique. Although there is an issue of stigmatization created due to the classification of outcasts, offenders feel prevented from rejoining other people. Such people have adopted this process to retain bonds of respect and love. They learn how to forgive and live in peace with their fellows.
Sherman’s defiance theory suggests that legitimacy and fairness of the punishment experienced are necessary for shame acknowledgment. It has provided a good foundation for a better understanding of how punishment is used to increase crimes in a society. Various concepts are necessary for defiance to occur. The offender should have a poor bond with society so that this method can be applied. The sanction defined should be unfair and viewed by the criminal as stigmatizing so that it can help them in the reconciliation process. The wrongdoer should be ready to acknowledge the shame produced by the community. Sherman provides examples of defiance types, including an individual assaulting a spouse in a domestic violence set-up or a person striking a police officer during the arrest.
The restorative justice is compatible with the defiance theory because they both provide an opportunity to experience the consequence of the undertaken action. According to the Sherman argument, the personality of an individual can be established and determined based on the mode of punishment. This aspect connects with the restorative justice in that they both tend to make a person evaluate the intensity of the issue after facing the condition associated with it.
The theories of therapeutic justice claim that stigmatization or shaming criminals can worsen the crimes, and tolerating offenses can make things worse. Still, disapproval of the act prevents the wrongful from being committed. Crime, shame, and reintegration offer an account of why wrong acts are prevented more effectively by the implementation of restorative justice than practices of retributive (Fitch et al., 2018). Sherman argues that punishment causes a defiance reaction hence intensifying the behavior. It can also be ineffective, resulting in a lack of influence on the crime commission.
Braithwaite and Sherman recognized that sanctions could reinforce and inhibit criminal behavior, which has implications for designing an ideal judicial system. These two were advocates of restorative justice, which imposes more than a one-sided punishment for a wrong act. They both believe that the healing process should involve listening and understanding each party and harmonizing their ideas to bring peace. In addition, it proposed various approaches that initiate effective communication and mutual respect among parties in order to avoid stigmatization. Both perpetrators are given a chance to explain themselves and justify their acts (Chenane et al., 2021). Their two theories correspond by bonding the community and, in particular, to the authorities whose sanctions are weak and the willingness to recognize them reduce.
Agnew’s theory was discovered by Robert Agnew in 1992 and noted that strains possessed several limitations that focused more on social class and variable cultures. He argues that certain conditions must be present for delinquency and crime to happen. His general strain theory is described in four characteristics of strain that lead to crime (Mowen & Boman, 2020). These include strains that are seen as unjust, have high magnitude, are associated with poor social control, and tend to create pressure to engage in coping with the criminal.
According to Agnew’s theory, the strain is based on certain factors, which include the existence of harmful impulses, removal of the positive impulses, and failure to achieve a goal. It can occur in any strata of the population and does not have a specified phenomenon of class. He further explains how they lead to criminal acts assuming that stress results in bad moods and negative emotions such as depression due to the use of drugs and anger, which can easily cause violence. He defines the reasons which make some people react to poor behavior as the psychological stress in the lack of skills for coping (Hashim et al., 2018). One should adopt the ability to be creative and solve issues. Negative factors, which consist of criminal characters or bad environments, have a contradicting influence when handling stress.
General strain theory (GST) is associated with Merton’s considerations of social policy that is good with the hope of the possibility that an individual would achieve their goals. Interaction inequality can lead to higher pressure on members who are disadvantaged hence increasing the likelihood of having more criminals. It can also cause strain due to certain approximations to the attachment theories and control; this methodology should be considered. Too many experiences of negative stimuli and lack of positive incitation cause individuals to change and think of wrongful acts. The social environment influences the people by reinforcing or preventing crimes. Coping strategies prevent the formation of other crimes by the victims (Mowen & Boman, 2020). These kinds of bad acts are out of anger and frustration. They need to be engaged in socialization programs to learn different ways of handling stress and containing themselves when they experience such emotions.
Agnew’s theory is distinct from other methodologies of crime in that it indicates the importance of the negative relations and pressurizes individuals into crime. It emphasizes the role of the negative state of emotions such as depression, anger, or despair. According to the model, reasons such as failure to achieve the set objective or the presence of harmful impulse are are key driving force that can easily prompt an individual to engage in criminal acts (Chenane et al., 2021). The analysis provides insights into the effectiveness of the theory in terms of offering practical approach in minimizing the felony and associated activities. More research is required on GST, but thus far, it has attracted good attention from other researchers, including criminologists, in revitalizing the tradition of strain theory.
In conclusion, the restorative justice approach aims at restoring offenders to law-abiding lives. It helps victims to heal their wounds and harmonize the community relationships. Although this methodology poses particular challenges, it can be used for any crime. Hence, it is suitable for lowering the rate of offenses in society, including domestic violence, hate crime, and sexual assaults. Wrongful acts are viewed as a social construct that can be prevented at an early age. Adults have a responsibility to teach juveniles what is correct and what is incorrect.
Chenane, J. L., Wright, E. M., & Wang, Y. (2021). The effects of police contact and neighborhood context on delinquency and violence. Victims & Offenders, 16(4), 495-518.
Fitch, C. H., Nazaretian, Z., & Himmel, D. (2018). Exploring the efficacy of reintegrative shaming for non‐predatory offending. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 28(4), 361-368.
Hashim, A. K., Strunk, K. O., & Dhaliwal, T. K. (2018). Justice for all? Suspension bans and restorative justice programs in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Peabody Journal of Education, 93(2), 174-189.
Mowen, T. J., & Boman IV, J. H. (2020). Animal abuse among high-risk Youth: A test of Agnew’s Theory. Deviant behavior, 41(6), 765-778.
Nadeem, M. (2021). Corporate governance and supplemental environmental projects: A restorative justice approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 173(2), 261-280.