Critical justice is the criminological theory that focuses on revealing the core reasons for crimes. One of the peculiar features of this approach is that it centers on the untraditional understanding of criminal intentions. The crime-provoking psychological problems are found within the significant social aspects such as social inequality. Critical justice tries to figure out which social factors may be psychologically oppressing for criminals. The criminals are not considered as the ultimate evil; they are seen as those who need help.
Peacemaking criminology is centered on analyzing the social and psychological reasons for crimes. This approach considers crime-related violence as a result of the experienced pain caused by social oppression. Peacemaking criminology emphasizes the necessity to help criminals to overcome hardships. The elimination of crimes can also be achieved through mutual trust and support. This approach highlights the idea that violent punishments contribute to more violence in society.
The main problem of criminal justice is society’s order. Ruth Morris considers such practices as “changing the political systems to achieve democracy and building the networks for compassion” as essential factors of criminal justice (Blevins et al., 2008, p.23). Transformative justice changes the judicial system itself and the whole society. It is necessary to ensure the stable rehabilitation of the criminals and eliminate the core reasons for crimes.
The prison-industrial complex is related to the subsequent growth of the annual number of imprisoned criminals in America. It involves the capitalistic issues relating the imprisonment and prison funding. The private companies try to benefit from proposing the government’s prison-related services. The demand constantly increases due to the irrational criminal justice approach applied by the government. The commercially beneficial actions and the high criminal rates ensure the stable development of the prison-industrial complex.
Restorative justice enhances the dialogue and understanding between victim and criminal. Such an approach helps victims get sincere remorse from the criminal, while in the traditional system, victims seek revenge. The second approach provokes more violence in the victim’s mind leaving no moral satisfaction and understanding about the criminal’s motifs. Restorative justice allows the victim to understand the criminal and discuss the harm dealt with the offender. This is more psychologically satisfying for the victim to know that the criminal understands the pain and repents.
Popular culture and society consider victims as the ultimate evil of humankind. They are usually hated and even bullied no matter the gravity of the committed offense. Many believe that the severe punishment of criminals contributes to decreasing crime rates by threatening people preventing them from wrongdoings. People also highlight that the balance of good and evil is restored by punishing criminals within a particular society. There are only a few practices of restorative justice known in the world. Even though such an approach proved to be more efficient than the traditional punishment system, people often avoid it. Such a situation is conditioned by psychological fear and weakness. People’s nature requires to see that good is superior to evil, which is a crime. Understanding the motifs of criminals and their psychology often seems too dangerous and overcomplicated. Many even emphasize that criminals have no right to be accepted and understood.
From my point of view, the main obstacle to restorative justice is the human fear of the unknown. People avoid understanding phenomena that are different from their traditional worldviews. If any restorative justice program would be implemented in large-scale practices, the criminal justice may become adequate and rehabilitation oriented. The understanding, acceptance, and mental help for a criminal is the only way to fight the core reasons of crime (Ness & String, 2011). Rehabilitation, not punishment, will contribute to solving the crimes problem. The restorative justice programs can result in the socialization of the ex-criminals, significantly improving the quality of their lives, preventing future wrongdoings. This approach will minimize the crime rates and develop society’s collective thinking helping to overcome the fear.
Blevins, K., Braswell, M., Vogel, R., & Wozniak, J. (2008). Transformative justice. Lexington Books.
Ness, D., & String, K. (2011). Restoring justice, fourth edition: an introduction to restorative justice. Anderseon Publishing.