‘Restorative justice empowers victims and challenges offenders.’ To what extent do you agree?

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‘Restorative justice empowers victims and challenges offenders.’ To what extent do you agree?

One of the key issues of our contemporary society is that we have to start to be aware that ‘the social relationship’ is one of the main elements of our lives. Society as a whole is a more complex structure, so we must cease to perceive life only in terms of the individual. However, most of our laws continue to believe that only the individual matter; this is seen most obviously in how the law treats interpersonal relationships that give rise to conflicts. An international effort was made to find alternatives to criminal punishment and incarceration as a means of rehabilitation of offenders. But the idea itself is not only to find as many and more effective alternatives to the deprivation of liberty, but to understand, forgive and support. Of these alternatives, ‘possibly the most influential development in “crime control” in the past decade'(Crawford and Newburn, 2003:38) is restorative justice. In restorative justice, also known as reparative justice, crime is not seen as a violation of the law , but as a product that harms people and the community. If the criminal justice system victims are often ignored, some authors even speak of a re- victimization of their victims, within restorative justice, victims are central. The first objective of the restorative justice process is to repair the damage caused to the victim and/or the community; offenders are treated in a manner more appropriate to their needs as restorative justice emphasizes on the rehabilitation of the offender and also on the compensation/repair that the offender can offer to the victim. At the same time, it emphasises on their social reintegration as both, a more humane ...

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To be mentioned is that restorative justice has its’ limitation and it is not suited for all kinds of crimes. Young (2002) claims that there are five reasons for which restorative justice is not suitable for corporate crimes: 1. it is based on the idea of individuals; 2. ‘healing’ is not applicable to corporations; 3. cannot be done if both parties are not individuals; 4. there is an imbalance of power; 5. who would represent the corporations?. Also, practices such as victim-offender mediation would not be appropriate to domestic violence cases mainly of the imbalance of power (Newburn, 2007) and as Braithwaite and Daly (1994:208) argue: “can we expect “communities of concern” to be any less sexist and misogynist than traditional justice system responses or state intervention?”.
There are a variety of crimes and there are a variety of crime control practices.

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