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Restorative Justice In Dr. Carl Hart's 'High Price'

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In the novel High Price, Dr. Carl Hart talks about the injustice caused by the war on drugs. He proclaims that the war on drugs causes more problems than the effects of using drugs. The war on drugs is racially discriminatory and punishes Africans Americans as well as other minorities more often and severely than whites. When individuals predominantly African Americans get caught with drugs they are often locked up for a significantly longer period. As a criminal justice major, I know that incarcerating drug related offenders is ineffective and can damage society. Due to the war on drugs, there is a higher than the average incarceration rate, and our prisons and jails are over populated. Instead of detaining these offenders, we should develop…show more content…
Hart talks about educating and training drug offenders instead of incarcerating them; this is a concept of restorative justice. Restorative justice is defined as the healing of the relationship between the offender, victim, and the community. The main goal of restorative justice is to right the wrongs and harms. To do this, the three pillars of restorative justice were created; these pillars are harms and needs, obligations, and engagements. The first pillar harms and needs focus on the harm of the victims and their needs. In drug-related offenses, there is no direct victim, but eventually, society can be affected. Obligations are the second pillar of restorative justice and its purpose is to hold the offender accountable and responsible for the crime committed. The community and society also have obligations in restoring the offender to society. Lastly, there is the third pillar of restorative justice engagement, which is the people who have an interest or stake in the crime. Restorative justice truly does try to balance the concerns for all by adapting the offender back into the community. It accomplishes this by educating, training, and helping the offender. The criminal justice system and restorative justice are truly as different as night and…show more content…
Carl Hart talks about the negative effects of the criminal justice systems and how programs such as restorative justice has a more positive effect. He speaks about data that shows criminal justice is not the best way to deal with these types of offense because they are not trained educators or counselors; they are trained to minimize damage and dole out punishment. On the other hand, officials in restorative justice are trained educators and counselors and our better prepared to help drug offenders. Another negative effect of the criminal justice system is the cost to incarcerate an individual. Putting someone in prison cost a numerous amount of money and restorative justice is by for a cheaper option. Through previous knowledge, I can tell you that the biggest difference between criminal justice and restorative justice is the central focus. Criminal justice focuses on the offender getting what they deserve whereas restorative justice focuses on the victim’s needs and the offender’s responsibility to repair the harm they caused. The criminal justice system can severely harm drug offenders because they are subjected to harden criminals who teach them about other crimes. It also leaves a permanent scratch on the offender’s record and it becomes almost impossible for them to retain a job. An example of the negative effects of the criminal justice system that Dr. Hart gives is with his cousin Louie. Louie had a bad reaction to the drug he was using and