2 essay questions. 1)How does restorative justice (i.e. conferencing) address the harms of victimisation and prevent crime from re-occurring? You will need to utilise ï¿½recidivism ratesï¿½ based on conferencing and illustrate the experiences of victim Example
This paper focuses on elaborating how restorative justice promotes the needs of the victim through active participation of all stakeholders of the case. It also elaborates how RJ leads to reduced reoccurrence of crime as compared to criminal justice system.
What Restorative Justice means
Restorative justice is a form of Youth Justice Conferencing which falls under the Young Offenders Act of 1997 which is in operation in the New South Wales (NSW) as an alternative form of acquiring justice mainly to young offenders (NSW legislation 2011). Offences covered by the act include; drug abuse and trafficking and other less harmful offences that the youth admits. The offences do not include serious ones like robbery with violence or sexual assaults. Restorative justice involves all the stakeholders of a case which include the victim, offender, their families and the community as well. The rationale for RJ is to restore the loss suffered by the victim, mend the relationship between the offender and the victim as well as re-integrating them into the community (Hayes & Daily 2003, p.725). RJ is different from the normal court process because it actively involves the participating parties through activities and counseling process. The offender is usually made to accept the crime verbally or by writing, he/she can then be made to perform community service or make financial compensation for his/her actions. Education and other vocal programs in the RJ are meant to foster re-integration process.
Harms of victimisation and crime
RJ plays a critical role in ensuring that the needs of the victim of the crime are met. In essence, RJ tries to restore the victim from the consequences of a crime. Different from the criminal justice system which has been amended to aid crime negotiation, RJ ensures that the victim participates in the process by focusing on their needs such as physical damage, emotional suffering as well as strained relationship. In order to ensure that the process is successful, RJ requires that the victim enunciate the effects of the criminal event encountered. By doing so, these victims are in a better position to explain their consequent needs and also elaborate how they would want their needs met. By obliging the victim to express their ordeal as a form of crime harm which demands that some interests and needs met, RJ clearly distinguishes itself as a victim centered approach which departs from the traditional criminal justice system. Additionally by ensuring that the victims clearly express their experience, RJ enables better ways of addressing the consequences of the crime to the satisfaction of the victim because of the active participation of all key stakeholders in the justice process (Walklate 2007).
One victim of a crime, Mrs. Thomson expressed that after the restorative process, she was more satisfied with the procedure because of a number of reasons.1) She was able to attain emotional trauma restoration that she had suffered as a result of the crime. This was because of expressing herself clearly and thus providing the participants of the justice process including the offender better ways of compensating her emotional suffering. 2) She felt like justice had been done to her and her offender who was made to do a community service after apologizing to her in form of writing. 3) Mrs. Thomson was re-integrated back into the community together with her offender, a factor which made her feel at ease interacting with the members of the society including her offender. As evident from the case of Mrs. Thomson, RJ is effective in ensuring that the re-integrations of the offender and the victim as well as restoration of the harms of crime.
How RJ prevents crime from re-occurring
According to Luke & Lind (2002, p. 4) statistics from the Australian Bureau of Crime Prevention reveals that RJ results in reduced rates of recidivism up to 15 to 20 % regardless of the age, history and aboriginality of the offenders. This reduction in reoffending is lower than the traditional criminal justice process. The rationale for these statistics is centered on the approach adopted by the RJ process. RJ ensures that the offender, the victim and families are involved in the restoration restitution and reintegration process. The RJ dialogue process reduces the emotional trauma of the victim as well as ensuring that the offender apologizes to the victim and also perform community service as a payback for the offense (Daly 2006). Conferencing also allows deeper understanding of the nature of crime and the reason why the crime was committed. By participating in a dialogue which includes the offender and the victim, a better restitution, restoration and re-integration of both the victim and the offender is made possible (Richards 2010).
The integration of the offender into the community also plays a pivotal role in strengthening the relationship between the offender and the victim as well as the community. By enhancing positive relationship, the offender is made to understand the effect of crime and also apologize for the same hence making the offender less likely to re-offend leading to reduced recidivism which contributes to the overall reduction of crime cases in Australia as compared to the results of traditional justice process. It can thus be stated that restorative justice helps in enhancing justice to the offender and the victim as well as reducing the likelihood of repeat offences (Daly & Hayes 2001).
As discussed in this essay, Restorative Justice actively involves all the key stakeholders of a case and thus ensuring restitution and re-integration of both the victim and the offender into the society. RJ has succeeded in mitigating recidivism rates as well as addressing the needs of the victim by encouraging free expression of their needs.
Daly, K & Hayes, H 2001, Resortorative justice and conferencing in Australia, Trend and Issues No 186 Australian Institute of Criminology http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi186.html.
Daly, K 2006, Restorative Justice and Sexual Assault, Advance, Access Publication, Brisbane, Queensland. PP.334-356.
Hayes, H & Daily, K 2003, ‘Youth Justice Conferencing and Reoffending’, Justice Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 4, p.725-737.
Luke, G & Lind, B 2002, ‘Reducing Juvenile Crime: Conferencing versus Court’, Contemporary issue in crime and justice, vol. 13, no.2, p.1-20.
NSW legislation 2011, Young Offenders Act 1997 No 54, viewed on 4 September 2011
Richards, K 2010,Taking Victims Seriously? The Role of Victims’ Rights Movements in the Emergence of Restorative Justice HeinOnline-21 Current Issue Criminal Justice.
Walklate, S 2007, Handbook of victims and victimology, Willan, Sydney.
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