When looking at the Criminal Justice system there are so many different elements make up the system to create a whole, it is sometimes hard to grasp every element. Throughout history people and governments alike have tried to figure out cost saving yet efficient strategies to keep offenders from reoffending and out of jail. Restorative justice is one of these elements; created to focus on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large. Within the realm of restorative justice there are many different types of procedures and programs from alternate dispute resolution to veteran trauma courts and everything in-between. Not everyone will agree that these specialty courts and procedures are fair however the people working within the justice system are willing to give it a try if it means less inmates and decreased cost for tax payers.
Alternate Dispute Resolution
While still not widely used in the criminal setting, alternate dispute resolution or ADR as it is commonly referred to, is defined as settling disputes outside of the courtroom typically using arbitration or mediation. ADR is commonly required in civil litigation cases to try to come to a resolution before having to let a judge or magistrate make a decision. The benefit of this type of settlement is that the parties control the outcome of the case, not the judge. There are usually two types of alternate dispute resolution that are used; mediation and arbitration.
Mediation is an informal alternative to litigation, using highly trained mediators to conduct the negotiations between the parties. Mediation is typically ordered in types of cases that there is significant emotional ties; creating a potential for hostil...
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...ical manner of processing offenders. (McMichael, 2011).
The justice system and everyone involved wants to see a steady decrease in the number of offenders in the system and the recidivism rate decline as well. Although Restorative Justice and Alternate Dispute Resolution may not be perfect, research has shown that these methods are on the right track. Aimed at healing everyone involved in a crime, these programs bring the communities, offenders and victims together to reach the optimum outcome for everyone. The offenders get to see the impact their actions have made, the victims have a say in the outcome of the case, and the community can begin to move on knowing that the offender is getting rehabilitated. Maybe these programs will not be the right answer down the road but until something better comes along, they seem to be a step in the right direction.
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