This essay explores the common human brain that is dynamic, such as through learning, it can assimilate or learn behavior. This is a common aspect that is depicted in restorative justice as well as philosophies. According to Lloyd et al. (np), restorative justice refers to a form of justice that seeks to form a discussion between the people affected by a crime as well as those who have committed the crime- this aids in creating a talk to repair the incidences that led to the crime hence creating a channel to a positive way forward. Restorative justice philosophy can be applied in any field to rebuild relationships, reform behavior, and influence the brain. However, this study is conversant with the current criminal justice system, which focuses on following particular doctrines such as weighing on the individual’s guilt, upholding the law, and, more so, providing necessary punishment or sanctions on an individual. In this essay, I utilize a selection of scholarly resources with connoisseurship to discuss the aspect of restorative justice that seeks to address or chain human behavior.
As aforementioned, the contemporary criminal justice system is majorly concerned with applying the current rule of law that outlines the standard or uniform behavior and rehabilitating measures for punitive acts vindicated with the criminal justice system. For instance, most hefty crimes are regarded as they are reflected as they view the entire society rather than one single being. Hence, the crime is assumed as more of public wrongdoings rather than individually affecting the [person themselves. Lloyd et al. (np) outline that the traditional or rather conventional justice system focuses on the crime at hand, retribution, denunciation, deterrence, and community status after breaching a given law, and other restrictions or considerations that the court of law determines in regards to the named crime. However, this study establishes some radical changes in the contemporary justice systems in the specialization of courts to categories such as mental health, drug courts, and juvenile courts, as they are more rehabilitative. An aspect of restorative justice, therefore actively reflected in the juvenile courts as they have more rehabilitative outcomes or terms as they negate away from the formal rules and established measures.
Lloyd et al. (np) point out that to fully comprehend restorative justice, it is imperative to study the opposing philosophies that the justice system negates; punishment. Punishment is a critical manner the justice system uses to alienate an individual from society and punish them for subverting common shared societal laws. The severity of the punishment is codependent on the nature of the crime committed; it is also proportionate to the criminal act committed. The aspect of punishment primarily focuses on denying an individual given liberties and inflicting pain which is effectively accommodated within the justice system. Hence for a punishment to be considered fair or just, it must be equivalent to the severity of the crime committed.
In the modern criminal justice practice, there are radical changes in the efforts to ensure the inclusivity of the victims of the crime, such as in the bid to inform the criminal justice systems of the experience within the crime committed. Lloyd et al. (np) point out that while these conventional practices differ from one state to another, the aspect allows the individuals or parties involved to engage in a conversation to restore trust, relationship bonds, and respect between the parties. However, the court’s punishment of the individuals acts as safeguards through secondary punishment proportionate to the severity of the crime that is set up in the bid to strengthen the affected rights.
Leonard. (14) offers a paradigmatic example of the essence of restorative justice, such as in cases where the court orders financial compensation for the crime committed- this system does little to restore the victim’s emotional or psychological needs. Leonard. (18) performs a study that depicts the essence of restorative justice through a survey of multiple victims’ responses to the criminal justice system’s criminal procedure and their involvement in the processes. Despite criminal processes taking action against the individuals incremented in given crimes, the survey indicated that only 35% received a personal statement. The same survey indicated a one-fifth of the surveyed population dissatisfaction by approximately 19%. This explains the origin of the aspect of restorative justice.
Restorative justice facilitates a dialogue between the people incremented in a crime and those affected by it, allowing them to repair the emotional damage incurred. The philosophy conceptualizes crime as emotional injury to selected people and relationship bonds that deserve healing rather than as a legal infraction that requires equal penalty or public condemnation. Díaz Gude et al. (56) outline that those caught up in such an event are left with multiple spiritual, emotional, psychological, material, and physical needs that are erroneously referred to as justice needs which have to be addressed equally to feel the essence of justice.
Restorative justice seeks to serve all visceral needs experienced by both the victims and the offenders. The victims have visceral needs due to being victims of malicious acts that affect another individual, tarnishing respect, self-worth, or even a sense of well-being. The victims are constantly left feeling used, bewildered, insecure, angry, or demeaned. According to Lasmadi et al. (np), the victim’s sense of freedom is blinded by anxiety, fear, bitterness, anger, and in some cases, material losses and physical loss. The pain incurred by the victims or even the thought and memory of the offense significantly affects the victim. It is undeniably true that historically the criminal justice system has rendered scant attention to the victim’s needs. This criminal justice ignorance of the victim’s needs is largely attributed to the perception that the actual offense is committed against the state and rather not to the individuals themselves- In fact, the conventional criminal justice system does not necessarily require the victim’s presence during the time of the trial. However, victims often look up to the justice system to avenge them hence assuring them of a sense of justice- in most cases, they are disappointed as the process fully assuages their psychological needs.
On the other hand, offenders, too, have their unique needs from the criminal justice system- they require a due and fair process. However, the conventional legal law requires that the offenders come to terms with the effect of their criminal actions and have to receive punishment equivalent to them. Gonzalez. (1148) outlines that offenders, too, have their unique needs from the criminal justice system; they require their humanity to be acknowledged, the trauma from the events addressed, and more to be acknowledged for more than their dark deeds. The offenders also have a need to be accorded another opportunity to amend their behavior and rejoin the community. The incidents also affect friends, family members, associates, and colleagues, as crime affects different sets of individuals indifferently. Restorative justice allows the offender to engage in a dialogue with the opposite parties to address their own needs, form respect, and rebuild relationships.
Conclusively, crime presents a range of criminal justice needs to different sets of people, such as offenders and crime victims. The conventional criminal justice system is majorly concerned with applying the current rule of law that outlines the standard or uniform behavior as well as rehabilitating measures for punitive acts vindicated with the criminal justice system. Restorative justice, on the other hand, is a novel approach to accommodating the justice needs of all the parties involved, such as the victims, offenders, and the community, by fostering dialogue between the parties. Restorative justice seeks to serve all visceral needs experienced by both the victims and the offenders. The victims have visceral needs due to being victims of malicious acts that affect another individual, tarnishing respect, self-worth, or even a sense of well-being. Offenders, too, have their unique needs from the criminal justice system- they require a due and fair process.
Díaz Gude, Alejandra, and Iván Navarro Papic. “Restorative justice and legal culture.” Criminology & Criminal Justice 20.1 (2020): 57-75.
Gonzalez, Thalia. “The state of Restorative Justice in American criminal law.” Wis. L. REv. (2020): 1147.
Lasmadi, Sahuri, Ratna Kumala Sari, and Hari Sutra Disemadi. “Restorative Justice Approach as an Alternative Companion of the Criminal Justice System in Indonesia.” International Conference on Law, Economics, and Health (ICLEH 2020). Atlantis Press, 2020.
Leonard, Liam J. “Can Restorative Justice Provide a Better Outcome for Participants and Society than the Courts?.” Laws 11.1 (2022): 14.
Lloyd, Alex, and Jo Borrill. “Examining the effectiveness of restorative justice in reducing victims’ post-traumatic stress.” Psychological Injury and Law 13.1 (2020): 77-89.