Victimiology and Alternatives to the Traditional Criminal Justice System
Restorative justice is a procedure whereby all interested parties in a particular offence collectively gather to determine together how to deal with the consequence of the offense and its significance for the future. From the victim’s standpoint, restorative justice has been shown as a rule to have achieved better conflict resolution than the existing system of criminal justice. The concept enables the victims to have a voice in the justice process, by offering them an opportunity to ask queries and seek out answers, affording them a part in the sentencing resolution and providing them with opportunities for closure and healing.
Victimiology and Alternatives to the Traditional Criminal Justice System The term “restorative justice” has come into view in varied forms, with diverse names, and in several countries; it has sprung from sites of academia, activism, and justice system agencies. The idea may refer to an alternative procedure for resolving controversies, to alternative options of interdiction, or to a uniquely different, “new” approach of criminal justice organized around theories of restoration to offenders, victims, and the communities in which the parties live.
The term may also confer to diversion from recognized court process, to actions taken in parallel with court judgments, and to meetings between victims and` offenders at any phase of the criminal process. Although restorative justice is a large concept with compound referents, there is a comprehensive sense of what it stands for. It calls attention to the repair of damages and of shattered social bonds resulting from crime; and concentrates on the relationships between crime offenders, victims, and society.
Restorative justice is a procedure whereby all interested parties in a particular offence collectively gather to determine together how to deal with the consequence of the offense and its significance for the future. For victims, it enables them to have a voice in the justice process, by offering them an opportunity to ask queries and seek out answers, affording them a part in the sentencing resolution, and providing them with opportunities for closure and healing.
It is not merely a way of correcting the criminal justice system; it is a way of changing society’s practice of politics, conduct in the workplace, family lives, and entire legal structure. The restorative justice’s vision is of a holistic change in the manner people carry out justice with the rest of the world. Whether restorative justice can eventually be of assistance to the victims without impairing the community or justice remains to be seen. But it is becoming apparent that the concept does without a doubt helps most victims.
Increasing observed benefits and advantages of restorative justice are outweighing the insignificant harms caused by it. The said findings appeared from a research study conducted in Australia over the period of 1995 to 2000; known as the Reintegrative Shaming Experiments (Ronken and Lincoln, n. d. , p. 3). The assessments integrated observations of the court and conferences proceedings, review of official data, and consultation with the victims after their cases were ordered.
The assessment revealed: Firstly, the manners of intervention in restorative justice are organized affords much greater prospect for victims to know about the development of their cases than available when cases are processed all the way through the courts. In practice, victims are unusually told nothing concerning their case when they are not obliged to be witnesses. This inadequacy of communication was the particular greatest reason for victims’ dissatisfaction whose cases went to court.
Secondly, a restorative justice encounter expectedly necessitates a high degree of participation by both offenders and victims. Victims stresses that personal delivery of justice is one of the advantages that they admire in restorative justice process that are not presented in the court. Thirdly, if emotional restitution is what victims’ value most for their mending, then restorative justice provides sufficient opportunity for the said restitution to take place. Fourthly, victims are more likely to acquire restitution through restorative justice as compared through the courts.
Victims often obtained some other form of material reparation, such as service by the offender for the affected people or for the community. Lastly, 90 percent of victims who experienced restorative justice answered that they have been treated respectfully and justly in the resolution of their cases as they believed the meeting had taken account of what they alleged in deciding what should be done (Strang and Sherman, 2003, p. 35). Peacemaking Strategies Peacemaking strategies are holistic approach to crime and conflict and are used for centuries now in several countries.
Peacemaking strategies deal with the fundamental causes of conflicts and violence. The approach considers the needs of offenders, victims, communities and families within a re-integrative framework. Peacemaking has a prospective to: assist adults and youth who come into dispute with the law; guarantee the development of responsible and healthy youth; support and recognize violence-free relationships; and increase the competence of communities to deal with social justice and criminal issues (Paiement, 2006, p.
5). Feedback from those who experienced peacemaking process noted the educational nature of the strategy; that they were able to take part openly and usually remarked on an approval for the peace talking; the process is competent in dealing with the issues of the parties directly and helping the offenders be aware of the outcomes of their actions; and the parties of the process were often very emotional and the victim felt respected and honoured (Paiement, 2006, p.
19). Shaming In the United States, most community registration and notification laws were enacted in the early 1990’s instantaneously after the occurrence of several high profile cases on violent sexual acts. Currently, state-controlled or public domain notification comes in two fundamental forms. The first is the registration that brings about the reporting of the criminals to justice bureaus in order for the latter to keep an eye on criminals’ movements.
The second form is termed “community notification. ” It comes in a range of forms such as internet postings, news releases, community conferences and targeting specific local areas, organizations or groups to give advice to the population concerning discharged sex offenders. However, shaming through notification laws will not automatically provide justice to the victims or shield the community from sex offenders. There are several well acknowledged explanations for such a conclusion.
The explanation includes: that the shaming approach may promote displacement; offer a false sense of protection; incorrect forms of insulting; are based on high-levels of recidivism; lead to more costly and weighty justice processes; and may aggravate vigilante attacks (Ronken and Lincoln, n. d. , p. 9). In the United States it is estimated that sex offenders’ population are already 250,000, with 60 percent released in the community. It is clear that every individual cannot be advised in relation to all possible offenders prowling in their community.
The aforementioned facts suggest the inefficiency of notification laws as a useful alternative to the traditional justice system. Further, notification conveys a frustrating message to the victims as well as the community that the state is capable to notify them about offenders within their midst but can present no means to deal with the dilemma. On the other hand John Braithwaite’s “reintegrative shaming” theory aims to eliminate the shaming nature of long-established criminal justice process that communities and families employ in reparation for the damages done to them.
The concept is accomplished through a phrase of retrial for the offender’s act and a process of reintegrating the lawbreaker back into their society through acts of acceptance and forgiveness. Thus, if notification laws are steadily influenced in the principles of restorative justice, including reintegration and shaming, then there may be a decline in the level of re-offending and a greater sense of justice and fairness to the victims.