A system of rules and laws is important in these times. They must regulate not only the relationships between people, but provide for all possible scenarios that are expected to occur, both in normal life and in the event of their violation. People are confronted virtually every day with someone violating them, even if they have heard this on the news channels or other programs. Very often the question arises: does the present system of regulation of laws and human rights work so ineffectively that crimes are repeated every time? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to understand the problem, why people commit crimes and how this can be avoided. That is why in the world of jurisprudence there is a concept of restorative justice. Exactly it will be discussed in this work, the term will be analyzed, its importance in society, the main features, as well as the relevance of its use in modern society.
To begin with, it is necessary to understand what is the essence of this set of principles and what is its main feature in contrast to other mechanisms of regulation. It is necessary to understand that despite the presence of crime, it can be viewed from different perspectives and assess the same situation cardinally differently. Therefore, at the heart of this set is the elimination of dehumanization and the imposition of an alternative approach to the question of justice over the person. It can be said that restorative justice seeks to treat the human being humanely and treats him first and foremost as a living being, rather than taking into account his status or past merits or misdeeds. This approach allows for a more balanced decision that will not be based on prejudice, but rather on the legitimacy of the action taken.
It is necessary to understand that any offense is illegal, no matter how it is viewed by the system of norms and principles. Therefore, it is very important to clarify that despite the fact that in any crime there must be a criminal and a victim, the key feature of this method is the analysis not of the offending act itself, but of the system of relations between people. It is meant that the crime in this method is not a simple action aimed at breaking the law, but the result of interaction between two or more people using illegal methods. As a result of such an approach between people, it is possible to trace the connection in the moral and psychological aspects and to assume details of the crime based on the interaction of people, and not only through the search for clues. In addition, these kinds of procedures, such as restorative justice, make it possible both to improve the skills of forensic psychologists and to train young professionals to work with these kinds of people.
The development of criminal psychology ranks high among the techniques that need to be possessed when working in this field. It is important to be able to read a criminal’s actions, understand his motives and make a competent accusation against him. It is impossible to predict which person will commit a crime and when, but by the actions of the offender, his movements and the way the crime was committed, one can understand what to expect from the same person the next time (Dzur, 2017). Moreover, we should not forget about the victim. This type of analysis helps to uncover the nature of the offender to prevent future recidivism (Braithwaite, 2018). This is important in the context of the victim’s experience and skills for future protection against similar situations.
Thus, it can be said that restorative justice aims to examine the crime from a humanistic perspective, focusing on the harm caused to people rather than on the crime itself. This form of case review allows for a clearer understanding of the impact on human life and the dangers it may have entailed. On the part of the offender, such a method can become a lever for regulation and a subject for subconscious influence. If the situation is correctly presented and interpreted, the bouts with the offender can become a kind of lecture that can influence future crimes (British Columbia. Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division & British Columbia. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, 2021). This method is particularly effective with young offenders who are inexperienced and whose crime can rather be regarded as an attempt to escape from a difficult life situation. With the right dialogue, this method helps to resolve future conflict situations or offenses and does not contain measures that help the offender to get out of a difficult situation in which he or she is guilty. That is, it can be noted that despite the humanity of this approach, it still does not exclude a measure of punishment for the offender, but rather serves as an alternative form of investigation of the case, referring to the human factor and preventing its recurrence in the future.
It is important to understand that this system of rules is only one aspect of the entire court and legal system. It provides for a humanistic approach, but it does not deny the very fact of the crime. Therefore, regardless of how this method is operated, it is necessary to take into account that an offense has been committed and will have to be answered for it. On the other hand, restorative justice can be both exasperating and more mitigating (Blad, 2017). This directly affects the jury’s verdict, as it is the jury that decides the sentence recommendation. Thus, a more humanistic approach directly affects the verdict that the judge announces.
It is necessary to take into account the peculiarities that this methodology introduces into the general judicial process. First of all, it is important to understand that the judicial side will be on the side of the victim in any case, since this kind of crime has direct consequences for the victim. In any case, this approach means that the crime will be punishable regardless of the indicators that have been presented as evidence (Ivo Aertsen & Pali, 2017). Therefore, restorative justice serves more from a psychological point of view and allows us to look at the situation from the perspective of the perpetrator’s intentions and the difficulties faced by the victim, but it is not entirely accusatory or evidentiary in nature.
In addition, another point must be taken into account, namely that by using this set of principles, the main help and support will be given to the victim of the crime and the consequences he or she has had in the aftermath of the crime. The court will side with the victim because the evidence provided by this method will in any case lean the jury towards the victim of the crime (Wachtel, 2017). Since restorative justice ameliorates the psychological point of the verdict, it is worth considering that this method is important not only as a method of prosecution but as a visual aid for the study of future crimes. In this way, it is possible to predict the future behavior of criminals of this kind and the actions of the victim in future similar cases.
The flip side of the question shows the disadvantages of this method. Because it implies a bias toward one of the parties, namely the victim. However, it should be understood that the victim is not always innocent. Nowadays, there are many cases in which it is very difficult to prove the accusation because there is no corpus delicti. In this regard, the use of this method implies a bias against one of the parties, which calls into question the competence of the decision made. In addition, it is important to understand that criminals may not always be predictable, so the consideration of this method cannot be fully considered correct in terms of foreseeing and predicting future problems with the law.
In conclusion, it is worth saying that despite the application of this method in the court system, it has several positive features, as well as negative ones. First of all, it is connected with the key feature, namely the humanistic approach. Human psychology has its influence on various spheres, so it is impossible to consider an objective influence on one or another sphere of human view, because it will always depend on what opinion each particular individual has, and how he looks at the situation. Therefore, it is important to consider everyone’s voice and come to a consensus.
Blad, J. (2017). The politics of restorative justice. Restorative Justice, 3(1), 1–5.
Braithwaite, J. (2018). Restorative justice & responsive regulation. Oxford University Press.
British Columbia. Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division, & British Columbia. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. (2021). Restorative justice. Victim Services And Crime Prevention, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
Dzur, A. (2017). Conversations on restorative justice: a talk with Kay Pranis. Restorative Justice, 4(2), 257–270.
Ivo Aertsen, & Pali, B. (2017). Critical restorative justice. Hart Publishing, An Imprint Of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Wachtel, T. (2017). Restorative justice reform: the system versus the lifeworld. Restorative Justice, 2(3), 361–366.